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NBA Rookie Contracts and Salaries Explained: How Much the Top Draft Players Will Earn in 2022-2023

The 2021-22 NBA season is over, but if you’re in the front office of a team, the hard work has just begun.

With the NBA playoffs now in the rearview mirror, the attention of league general managers has shifted to the NBA draft. After all elections are done on Thursday night, they will be tasked with restoring their free agency rosters.

Given the proximity of these two big events on the NBA calendar, you might be wondering how much money the rookies make after they sign contracts and what effect these deals will have on the rest of the offseason.

Here’s a closer look at the kinds of deals freshman players can sign.

MORE: Tracking Breaking News, Leaks, Trading Noise Ahead of NBA Draft

NBA Rookie Contracts and Salaries Explained

Once teams make NBA draft picks, contract negotiations usually don’t take long because the rookie scale is set before each season. The scale changes each year based on the salary cap, and a player’s position in the draft determines how much money they make on their first contract (more on that below).

Teams may sign their first round picks for any amount from 80 percent to 120 percent of the figure shown on the rookie scale. Second round picks and free agents are not required to sign contracts based on the rookie scale.

Contracts and salaries of NBA rookies in the 2021 draft

A salary cap for the 2022-23 season has not been set, so the rookie scale has yet to be finalized. However, we can get a rough idea of ​​what the rookie scale will look like by looking at the 2021-2022 rookie scale.

A recent example: Cade Cunningham, the 2021 NBA draft’s No. Jalen Green, Evan Mobley and Scotty Barnes have earned at least $6 million in 2021-2022.

You can see the rookie numbers for last year’s top 10 picks in the draft class below.

(Full novice scale figures are available at Spotrac.com)

To choose 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24 2024-25
No. 1 $8.4 million $8.8 million $9.2M $11.6M
No. 2 $7.5 million $7.9 million $8.2 million $10.4 million
Number 3 $6.7M $7.1M $7.4 million $9.4M
No. 4 $6.1 million $6.4M $6.7M $8.4M
No. 5 $5.5M $5.8 million $6.9 million $7.7 million
No. 6 $5.0 million $5.2 million $5.5 million $7.0 million
No. 7 $4.6M $4.8M $5.0M $6.4M
No. 8 $4.2 million $4.4 million $4.6 million $5.8 million
No. 9 $3.8 million $4.0 million $4.2 million $5.4 million
No. 10 $3.6 million $3.8M $4.0 million $5.1M

2022 NBA draft mockup

Here are the latest prospective picks for the 2022 NBA draft, according to TSN’s Kyle Irving:

  • 1. Magic: Jabari Smith Jr., F, Auburn
  • 2. Thunder: Chet Holmgren, FC, Gonzaga
  • 3 Rockets: Paolo Bankero, F, Duke
  • 4 Kings: Jaden Ivey, Gee, Purdue
  • 5. Pistons: Schaedon Sharp, G, Kentucky
  • 6. Pacers: Keegan Murray, F, Iowa
  • 7. Trail Blazers: Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite
  • 8. Pelicans (via Lakers): Bennedict Maturin, J, Arizona
  • 9. Spurs: Jalen Duren, C, Memphis
  • 10. Wizards: Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin

MORE: Who was drafted into the green room of the 2022 NBA draft?

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