Over the last several weeks, we've been keeping tabs on the NBA contracts signed by this year's first- and second-round draft picks. Because first-rounders are subject to the NBA's rookie scale, typically there isn't much negotiation required, so most of 2013's top picks have been locked up. However, for second-rounders, the outlook is a little murkier. This year's late selections have signed for a wide variety of years and dollars with their respective NBA clubs or with teams overseas.
So far, 24 of this season's 30 first-round picks have signed with their NBA clubs, while one (Lucas Nogueira) is set to spend another year in Spain. These five first-rounders remain unsigned:
- Anthony Bennett, Cavaliers (1)
- Alex Len, Suns (5)
- Nerlens Noel, Sixers (6)
- Michael Carter-Williams, Sixers (11)
- Livio Jean-Charles, Spurs (28)
In some cases it makes sense that these players haven't signed yet. The Sixers, for instance, still have a significant chunk of cap space available, and can maximize that room by keeping Noel's and Carter-Williams' cap holds on the books, rather than their final salaries (which will likely be 20% higher). Philadelphia will eventually sign the two lottery picks, but for now the team continues to maintain as much flexibility as possible, should a trade opportunity arise.
As for Jean-Charles, he appears likely to play overseas in 2013/14, so it's not surprising that he hasn't signed with the Spurs. It's not entirely clear why Bennett and Len haven't signed yet, but like the aforementioned Sixers duo, it'll just be a matter of time.
Here are the second-rounders who have yet to sign and aren't confirmed to be spending 2013/14 overseas:
- Grant Jerrett, Thunder (40)
- Marko Todorovic, Rockets (45)
- Raul Neto, Jazz (47)
- Ryan Kelly, Lakers (48)
- Romero Osby, Magic (51)
- Lorenzo Brown, Timberwolves (52)
- Deshaun Thomas, Spurs (58)
- Janis Timma, Grizzlies (60)
None of these players are assured of NBA roster spots this year, and in fact, it looks like many of them will end up playing elsewhere. Todorovic will likely remain with FC Barcelona, the Jazz may not have a spot available for Neto, Thomas is reportedly close to signing in Spain, and there probably won't be room for Timma in Memphis, where the Grizzlies already have 17 players under contract.
Brown appears to be a good bet to participate in training camp with the Timberwolves, with a chance to earn the team's 15th roster spot, and the Magic may extend the same opportunity to Osby. In that case, the Wolves and Magic would lose Brown's and Osby's respective NBA rights if they don't make the teams' regular-season rosters.
For Jerrett, his NBA future figures to depend on how many of their non-guaranteed players the Thunder decide to retain for next season. The club only has 12 players on guaranteed contracts, but Hasheem Thabeet, Daniel Orton, DeAndre Liggins, and Ryan Gomes all have non-guaranteed deals. Meanwhile, we haven't heard much about Kelly and the Lakers, but L.A. should definitely have room for him, depending on what other moves the team makes this offseason.