The Timberwolves are set to have this season’s highest-paid first-year player, as the rookie scale will bestow more than $5.7MM on Karl-Anthony Towns. They’ll also have the most well-compensated rookie in another regard. No rookie on a non-scale contract is slated to make as much as Nemanja Bjelica, the former draft-and-stash prospect who signed a three-year, $11.7MM deal with Minnesota in July. The 35th overall pick from 2010 will make more than all but the top four picks from this year’s draft.
This offseason has yet to produce non-scale deals as large as the ones Nikola Mirotic and Kostas Papanikolaou wrangled last summer, when they arranged for salaries of $5.305MM and nearly $4.8MM, respectively. Plus, a portion of the salaries for draft-and-stash rookies usually go toward buyouts to their overseas teams. Still, Bjelica, Tibor Pleiss of the Jazz and Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets proved once more that waiting to sign and developing overseas instead can be a lucrative path, particularly for second-round picks. They, as well as undrafted free agent Boban Marjanovic, are in line for the top four non-scale rookie salaries this season. Jordan Mickey, the highest second-round pick from this year’s draft to have signed so far, is next on the list.
No. 32 pick Montrezl Harrell is liable join this ranking soon, though the Rockets would be hard-capped if they gave him more than the minimum. A few other names may well appear, with salaries for Sasha Kaun of the Cavs and apparent soon-to-be Lakers signee Marcelo Huertas still unreported. For now, 16 rookies who aren’t on rookie scale contracts will make more than the minimum, including Maurice Ndour, who curiously signed for just $1MM more than the $525,093 rookie minimum from the Mavs. The full list is as follows:
- Nemanja Bjelica, Timberwolves — $3,950,001
- Tibor Pleiss, Jazz — $2.9MM
- Nikola Jokic, Nuggets — $1.3MM
- Boban Marjanovic, Spurs — $1.2MM
- Jordan Mickey, Celtics — $1,170,960
- Richaun Holmes, Sixers — $1,074,169
- Rakeem Christmas, Pacers — $1,007,026
- Joseph Young, Pacers — $1,007,026
- Edy Tavares, Hawks — $1MM
- Raul Neto, Jazz — $900K
- Pierre Jackson, Sixers — $750K
- Norman Powell, Raptors — $650K
- Pat Connaughton, Trail Blazers — $625,093
- Anthony Brown, Lakers — $600K
- Darrun Hilliard, Pistons — $600K
- Maurice Ndour, Mavericks — $525,094
The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.