You’ve likely had a chance to pore through last night’s NBA draft results by now, taking stock of which teams did well and which teams made more questionable choices. It’s also worth considering how last night’s first-round picks will affect the payrolls of NBA teams as we move from the draft into free agency. Clubs with either high lottery picks, multiple first-rounders, or both will see their draftees take a sizable chunk out of any cap flexibility they have.
The NBA’s rookie scale dictates that specific cap holds are assigned to each pick heading into July. For instance, the first overall pick, Andrew Wiggins, will represent a cap hold of $4,436,900 on the books for the Cavaliers. Rookies are permitted to sign for up to 120% of that amount, however, and almost all of them do. So the eventual first-year salary for Wiggins will almost certainly be $5,510,640, which is 120% of his rookie scale amount.
In the chart below, we’ve listed each of the 30 first-round draft picks, along with their cap holds and their likely first-year salaries. Not all of these players will necessarily receive the amount in the “likely salary” column here — some international prospects, like Dario Saric, will likely be stashed overseas and not join their respective NBA teams for another season or two. Others, like Andre Roberson a year ago, could end up signing for less than 120% of their respective rookie-scale amounts. But the cap holds, at least, represent the amounts on the books heading into free agency.
Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ was used in the creation of this post.