Last night’s NBA draft was the deepest in years and yet the top story in the days leading up was how far an injury would drop the once consensus top pick, Joel Embiid. And how much money would it cost him.
As it turned out, the 76ers drafted Embiid with the No. 3 pick, mitigating the financial loss he would have faced with a slide down the draft board. Granted, falling from the No. 1 pick to No. 3 will cost him nearly $5 million over the next four years, and because Embiid doesn’t possess loss-of-value insurance, as ESPN reported, he’ll feel the full brunt of that financial hit.
On the flip side, Arizona product Aaron Gordon was perhaps the biggest winner of the night after being selected by Orlando at No. 4. Gordon was projected by many to fall within picks 6-10, but by having been taken by the Magic he made himself several million dollars more, plus the added bonus of landing in a tax-free state.
Heading into the draft, franchises and players know how much guaranteed money will be paid out to each selection in the first round. The NBA rookie scale is set, and according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams can assign a player as little as 80 percent or as much as 120 percent of the amount designated to that slot. In the gallery below we’ve highlighted the full 120 percent of the rookie scale at each draft slot, including the fourth-year option since it’s the most likely occurrence for a top 10 player that pans out.
Here is what the top 10 picks in the draft are scheduled to make over the course of their rookie contracts:
Rookie salary scale figures via RealGM
Top 10 pick projections via USA TODAY Sports