NBA Draft’s First-Round Picks Lock In Millions

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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At Thursday night’s NBA Draft, prospects knew that they had to be one of the top 30 selections to get a guaranteed contract on the league’s rookie scale

So fans can imagine Paolo Banchero’s excitement when he was called as the No. 1 pick for the Orlando Magic. The former Duke player locked in around $9.09 million for his first year, $9.54 million for his second, and nearly $10 million for his team-option years.

Rookies drafted in the first round sign four-year contracts, with the first two guaranteed and the last two as team-option years.

Figures for the top, middle, and lower picks differ by millions of dollars, especially in the first year.

  • Chet Holmgren, No. 2 overall pick: $8.13 million
  • Mark Williams, No. 15 overall pick: $3.06 million
  • Peyton Watson, No. 30 overall pick: $1.8 million

Players can sign anywhere from 80% to 120% on the scale. Rookie contracts can’t be extended until after the third year.


The NFL also has a rookie scale, but it includes bonuses. This year’s No. 1 pick was Travon Walker, who landed a four-year, $41.4 million deal and a $27.3 million signing bonus. The NBA’s picks can be worth more over time if the NBA teams choose to exercise their salary increase.

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