Steven Adams isn't about to vault to the top of the New Zealand sport's rich list - he's going to leap into a whole new stratosphere.

Confirmation is expected today that the Oklahoma City Thunder has completed a new $NZ140 million four-year contract, creating a staggering new benchmark for the highest paid New Zealand athlete in our history.

Adams is expcected to be worth $NZ35 million a year once his new contract kicks into place in about 10 months, doubling the previous highest mark set by sailor Sir Russell Coutts.

Coutts was king of the Kiwi sporting castle with an estimated earning power of $13 million a year via his status as head of America's Cup holders Oracle.


But Adams will soar past him - and then some.

His is currently on a $2.8m a season deal, and was ranked No. 4 on the Herald's "Rich List" revealed in October last year.

Adams' new wage does not include any potential endorsements. He is already on Powerade's books. His endorsement opportunities are expected to soar with his new-found status.

Coutts and others are staring at a huge gap between the former Scots College student and themselves now when it comes to sports's rich list in New Zealand.

Having made his riches over two decades' involvement in the America's Cup, Coutts has built up an impressive property portfolio in New Zealand including his most recent project - a 667sq m mega-mansion on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.

He also owns an apartment in Takapuna worth over $1 million and several properties in the South Island, including three neighbouring titles in rural Queenstown which include his private golf course.

All Whites captain Winston Reid will be third on the revised list with estimated annual earnings of $12m, followed by American-based motor racing ace Scott Dixon on $11m.

Recently retired Richie McCaw remains in the top 10 despite no longer lacing up his boots. McCaw's off-field earnings through sponsors such as Westpac, Fonterra, adidas and Versatile Homes, plus book and speaking income has kept his estimated annual earnings up around the $1.5m mark.

Dixon's income is derived from three streams - his driver's salary for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, a 50 per cent share of prize money and sponsorship/endorsement deals. Among the brands Dixon lends his name to are Oakley and Swiss luxury watch brand Louis Moinet.

Dixon, wife Emma and their two daughters are based in Indiana. His website lists his coolest new acquisition as a home on Lake Geist, where waterfront properties are worth upwards of US$2 million ($2.57 million).

The couple also have a home in London and a holiday pad in Mount Maunganui.
Reid owns an apartment in a Canary Wharf, London, tower block. Apartments in this part of London begin at around £1.5 million.

Golfers Danny Lee and Lydia Ko will occupy the No. 5 and 6 rankings on the revised list at $8m and $6.3m respectively. Ko is the only woman in the top 10.

Former All Black Dan Carter drops to 7th with $4.2m annual earnings off the back of the world's biggest club rugby deal with French club Racing Metro.

That puts him ahead of McCaw and another ex-team-mate Sonny Bill Williams who rounds off the top 10. At 9th is champion jockey James McDonald with estimated annual earnings of $2m.