The NBA is about to add a major star.
Victor Wembanyama will officially become an NBA player when he hears his name called — very likely first overall by the San Antonio Spurs — at Thursday night’s draft in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Wembanyama is the most hyped prospect since LeBron James back in 2003; and for good reason. The French phenom stands 7-foot-5, can create offensively like a wing player and protect the rim on the other end of the floor.
While the 19-year-old may not walk into the NBA as a top-10 player, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if he’s playing on All-Star Sunday in 2024.
So, how much money will Wembanyama earn as a rookie in 2023-24? Here’s what to know about rookie contracts:
How do rookie contracts work in the NBA?
A player selected in the first round of the NBA draft signs what’s known as a rookie-scale contract. Each first-round draft slot has an assigned rookie-scale figure based on the salary cap. A player can sign for anywhere from 80-120% of their respective rookie-scale figure.
A rookie-scale contract carries two guaranteed years with a team option for Years 3 and 4. If an extension isn’t reached by the end of the fourth year, a team can extend a qualifying offer to make the player a restricted free agent.
A player drafted in the second round can be signed via cap space, an exception or a two-way deal. The minimum salary for a first-year player next season is $1.12 million.
How much money will NBA rookies make in 2023-24?
With a reported projected salary cap of $136 million next season, the No. 1 overall slot in this year’s draft has a first-year rookie-scale value of $10.13 million, according to RealGM.com. Wembanyama, however, will probably receive the maximum 120% of that amount, which is $12.16 million. He then could earn up to $12.77 million in Year 2.
There’s more than a $1 million dropoff from the first to second pick, as Scoot Henderson or Brandon Miller would project to have a first-year rookie-scale figure of $9.06 million as the No. 2 selection. The dropoff from second to third ($8.14 million) is a bit smaller.
Here’s a full look at the projected first-year rookie-scale figures of each first-round draft slot, per RealGM.com:
You can check out a year-by-year breakdown of the rookie-scale contracts for this year’s class here.
Source: Yahoo Sports