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Kevin Durant Ranks No. 11 On Highest Paid Athletes Of 2012

The Oklahoma City Thunder are going to have to go into the luxury tax territory if they want to surround their current stars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook with their teammates for the long haul. James Harden and Serge Ibaka are going to want to get paid in the same way that Durant is enjoying, but it's clear that the OKC star isn't just raking in the dollars on the court. He's also earning several million through endorsement deals as well.

On the new Sports Illustrated rankings listing the highest paid athletes of 2012, Durant comes at No. 11 with an incredible earnings at nearly $26.5 million. While his $14 million salary is a major part of that, his deal with Nike and other endorsements help him clear the rest.

From the report, "Durant's NBA income doubled when his extension kicked in this year. His most lucrative endorsement deal is with Nike, but he doesn't just wear the brand. He's an active participant in commendable projects like Nike N7."

This year's top athlete is Floyd Mayweather with an incredible $85 million. The only NBA stars making more than Durant are Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.