Teams With The Most Rookie Scale Contracts

The Cavs will be a popular pick for the NBA title this season, and that’ll probably be the case as long as LeBron James is at or near his peak and wearing a Cleveland uniform. However, once the LeBron era winds down, the future looks murky for the Cavs, who are the only NBA team without a player on a rookie scale contract, the sort of deal that first-round picks sign when they join the NBA.

Conversely, the Celtics and Timberwolves aren’t where they want to be yet, but they have no shortage of young talent. They’re tied atop the league with eight players apiece on rookie scale contracts. The C’s arguably have more “future assets” than anybody, since they also have five extra future first-round picks coming their way.

See how all 30 teams stack up in terms of rookie-scale contracts:

  1. Celtics, 8 (R.J. Hunter, Perry Jones III, Kelly Olynyk, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Jared Sullinger, James Young, Tyler Zeller)
  2. Timberwolves, 8 (Anthony Bennett, Gorgui Dieng, Tyus Jones, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, Adreian Payne, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins)
  3. Bucks, 7 (Giannis Antetokounmpo, Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis, John Henson, Jabari Parker, Miles Plumlee, Rashad Vaughn)
  4. Magic, 7 (Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Mario Hezonja, Shabazz Napier, Andrew Nicholson, Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton)
  5. Thunder, 6 (Steven Adams, Josh Huestis, Mitch McGary, Cameron Payne, Andre Roberson, Dion Waiters)
  6. Trail Blazers, 6 (Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard, Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Mason Plumlee, Noah Vonleh)*
  7. Hornets, 5 (P.J. Hairston, Frank Kaminsky, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeremy Lamb, Cody Zeller)
  8. Jazz, 5 (Trey Burke, Dante Exum, Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood, Trey Lyles)
  9. Raptors, 5 (Bruno Caboclo, Lucas Nogueira, Terrence Ross, Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright)
  10. Sixers, 5 (Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas, Tony Wroten)
  11. Pistons, 4 (Reggie Bullock, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Andre Drummond, Stanley Johnson)
  12. Rockets, 4 (Clint Capela, Sam Dekker, Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas)
  13. Suns, 4 (Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin, Alex Len, T.J. Warren)
  14. Bulls, 3 (Doug McDermott, Bobby Portis, Tony Snell)
  15. Lakers, 3 (Larry Nance Jr., Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell)
  16. Nets, 3 (Sergey Karasev, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris McCullough)
  17. Nuggets, 3 (Gary Harris, Emmanuel Mudiay, Jusuf Nurkic)
  18. Warriors, 3 (Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, Kevon Looney)
  19. Wizards, 3 (Bradley Beal, Kelly Oubre, Otto Porter)
  20. Grizzlies, 2 (Jordan Adams, Jarell Martin)
  21. Hawks, 2 (Tim Hardaway Jr., Dennis Schröder)
  22. Knicks, 2 (Jerian Grant, Kristaps Porzingis)
  23. Pacers, 2 (Myles Turner, Solomon Hill)
  24. Clippers, 1 (C.J. Wilcox)
  25. Heat, 1 (Justise Winslow)
  26. Kings, 2 (Willie Cauley-Stein, Ben McLemore)
  27. Mavericks, 1 (Justin Anderson)
  28. Pelicans, 1 (Anthony Davis)*
  29. Spurs, 1 (Kyle Anderson)
  30. Cavaliers, 0

* — The rookie scale contracts for Davis and Lillard run through the coming season, but they’ve already signed a maximum-salary extensions that will kick with the 2016/17 season.

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

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3 thoughts on “Teams With The Most Rookie Scale Contracts

  1. More important than how many each team has is how good they are. I think Minnesota and Milwaukee have the best group of a large amount of young guys who are also talented. The Celtics have 8 but who is actually above average in that group?

    • Arthur Hill

      The Wolves, especially, are going to have a lot of difficult decisions ahead when those young players start becoming eligible for extensions.

  2. pihc

    Don’t understand why some players are included in a “rookie scale” while others are not. Cavaliers have some young players that are younger than some of those teams you sight has having all those rookie scale players. Per age as an example, Kyrie Iriving is younger than many of those you listed above and won’t start his max salary until this coming season. Per playing out the rest of his rookie contract is Joe Harris. Why isn’t he included as a “rookie scale contract”?


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