There is technically no set salary for a 10-day contract in the NBA. If a player and a team agree to a 10-day deal, they’re free to negotiate a salary using any cap room or exceptions that the team has available.
In practice though, a 10-day contract is virtually always worth the minimum salary. After all, a player who lacks the leverage to get more than a 10-day commitment from a club isn’t really in a position to negotiate a salary higher than the minimum.
Based on the minimum salaries for 2019/20 then, we can determine how much a player on a 10-day contract will earn this season. A 10-day minimum salary is worth 10/177ths of the full-season minimum salary, since there are 177 days in an NBA regular season.
Minimum-salary rates are based on a player’s NBA experience. If a player spent any time on a club’s active regular season roster in a given season, he earned one year of experience. So any player with zero years of experience had not made his NBA debut before 2019/20. A player with 10+ years of experience who signs a 10-day deal, such as Jeff Green (Rockets), will earn nearly three times as much money during that 10-day stint as a rookie like Donta Hall (Pistons).
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It’s also worth noting that because the NBA doesn’t want teams to avoid signing veteran players in favor of cheaper, younger players, the league reimburses clubs who sign veterans with three or more years of experience to minimum-salary contracts (as long as they’re not multiyear deals). As such, a 10-day contract for a veteran will only count against the cap – and against a team’s bank balance – for $91,557, the minimum salary for a player with two years of experience.
Here’s the full 10-day salary breakdown for 2019/20:
|Years in NBA||Salary||Cap hit|
There’s one exception to the rates listed above — because a 10-day contract must cover at least three games, deals signed just before the All-Star break often run for more than 10 days. For example, when Malik Newman and J.P. Macura signed with the Cavaliers on February 9, they technically received “13-day” contracts, since the Cavs’ third game wasn’t until February 21.
In cases like that, Newman and Macura would simply receive 13/177ths of the full-season minimum salary instead of 10/177ths. For a rookie like Newman, that meant a bump from $50,752 to $65,978. For Macura, who had one year of NBA experience under his belt, it resulted in an increase from $81,678 to $106,181.