The players selected in last month’s draft aren’t the only draftees signing with NBA teams. Six “draft-and-stash” prospects agreed to deals with the teams that held their NBA rights this month, finally coming to the NBA after having spent at least a year outside the league. They wound up with widely varying financial terms, as we examine here:
Nikola Mirotic, Bulls — The prize import from overseas signed a deal precisely equivalent to the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception over three years, even though the Bulls used cap space to sign him. It had been three years since the Rockets drafted Mirotic 23rd overall, so the Bulls, who acquired his rights via trade at the 2011 draft, weren’t limited to giving him rookie scale salaries. That helped Chicago immensely, since Mirotic had to commit more than $3MM when he bought his way out of his contract with Spain’s Real Madrid. Mirotic still had enough leverage to command a trade kicker and, reportedly, assurances from the Bulls that he wouldn’t be traded. He’ll make a total of more than $16.6MM over the life of the contract.
Bojan Bogdanovic, Nets — Bogdanovic came to Brooklyn for a three-year contract at the full value of the taxpayer’s mid-level exception, a less lucrative version of the mid-level than the Bulls gave Mirotic. Bogdanovic also received a trade kicker, just as Mirotic did. Bogdanovic was a product of the 2011 draft, again just like Mirotic, but he was a second-round pick, so the rookie scale wouldn’t have applied no matter when he signed. He’s not to be confused with Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom the Suns drafted 27th overall last month. That Bogdanovic figures to be on this list a few years down the road, since he just signed a multiyear contract to play in Turkey.
Kostas Papanikolaou, Rockets — The Papanikolaou deal is like the Bogdanovic signing in that both were former second-round picks who received mid-level money, but Papanikolaou’s first-year salary, worth nearly $4.6MM, is significantly higher. That’s because Houston used the majority of its $5.305MM non-taxpayer’s mid-level on the forward, who has a two-year pact for about $9.4MM.
Lucas Nogueira, Raptors — Nogueira was the 16th pick of the 2013 draft, and Toronto acquired his rights via trade last month. The rookie scale still applies to him, unlike Mirotic, so he’ll likely make a salary of nearly $1.763MM for this coming season, part of which will go toward his buyout. That’s the standard 120% of the rookie scale amount for the 16th pick in this year’s draft, rather than last year’s, but the scale applies to the year in which the player signs, not the year in which he’s drafted. The deal is worth $8,473,305 over four seasons.
James Ennis, Heat — Heat president Pat Riley has raved about last year’s 40th overall pick, whom Miami acquired from the Hawks shortly after they drafted him. The Heat used part of their cap space to come to terms with Ennis, even though he won’t see any more than the minimum salary in any of the three years for which he signed. Riley’s praise indicates that Ennis is likely to stick around for a while, but the team has the option to waive him by the end of opening night and pay him only his $200K partial guarantee if it so chooses.
Erick Green, Nuggets — Denver used a portion of its mid-level exception to sign Green, whom the Nuggets acquired in a trade shortly after the Jazz picked him 46th overall in the 2013 draft. The part of the mid-level the team gave him is equivalent to just the minimum salary, so he’s receiving significantly less than Mirotic and Bogdanovic. The three-year pact is worth about $2.3MM. It’s only guaranteed for $50K, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports.
Pierre Jackson, Sixers — There’s a decent chance that Jackson, last year’s 42nd overall pick, would be higher on this list had he not ruptured his achilles tendon shortly before signing with Philadelphia. The Sixers reacquired his rights from the Pelicans last month after drafting him 42nd overall in 2013, and while he and the Pelicans couldn’t agree to terms last year, he sprung for 29.1 points per game in the D-League. He wound up with a one-year, minimum-salary deal that’s guaranteed for $400K, as Deeks noted when he reported the signing.