In the National Basketball Association, players like Steph Curry and LeBron James are a few of the highest paid players in the league’s history. LeBron is likely the highest paid player.
However, have you ever wondered how much the lowest paid players earn per season? If that’s the case, then you have come to the right place.
In this article, I will explore the NBA minimum salaries for rookies and veterans. I will also discuss how much the NBA’s minimum salary is. In addition, I will also cover the minimum team salary contracts including the NBA’s salary cap per season.
Let me move on to the first topic to see what it’s like to be under contract with the minimum salary in the NBA.
What Is The NBA Minimum Salary?
The minimum salary in the NBA starts at $925,000. However, the salary may vary due to different factors including but not limited to the following:
- Year of the contract signing
- Draft placements
- Quality of experience and resume
- Other factors like popularity or global reach
With that being said, the NBA minimum salary and other remuneration-related issues are governed by the salary cap rules laid out by the NBA owners, NBA teams, and NBA Players Association.
The Lowest Salary In The NBA In 2021-2022
There are two versions of the lowest salary in the NBA: the Rookie Minimum Salary Contract and the Veteran Minimum Salary Contract.
Let’s discuss these two contracts and how they function!
NBA Rookie Minimum Salary
The lowest salary cap in the NBA league and professional basketball is usually given to rookies. This capped at $925,258 in the NBA.
However, this may vary if the player asks for a trade or if the organization’s salary reaches its hard cap.
The reason is because they are the league’s younger players, and they have zero years of experience playing in the NBA or professionally for that matter, hence the minimum salary cap given to them.
It is important to note that minimum salaries are regulated by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). It also depends on the basketball player’s years of experience in the NBA.
Like any other job, once a rookie enters his second year in the NBA, the amount in his salary will increase. He will also have more access to benefits, as long as their NBA team agrees to it.
If there is a minimum deal and salary for rookies, there is also a veteran minimum salary for veteran players.
Players Who Are Currently Signed Under the Rookie Minimum Salary
All players would have signed this contract when they were drafted into the NBA since this is the contract they sign when entering their first season in the league.
It doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth noting who the current NBA players are signed with this type of contract, especially since they only have one season of playing under their belt.
Austin Reeves of the Los Angeles Lakers is arguably the highest-profile player under this contract, receiving a minimum of $925,259 per year.
Players beginning to play their NBA careers are all under this contract. Their money, experience, and quality of play only go up from here.
NBA Veteran Minimum Salary
Players who have spent 10 or more seasons in the league will be able to sign the veteran minimum salary contract.
During the 2021-2022 season, the minimum veteran salary was capped at $2.6 million. This means that a player signed under this contract earns quite a huge sum even if it is just the NBA minimum salary.
While that may have been the bare minimum salary, some NBA teams and organizations may include some bonuses and other benefits in their contracts.
A few teams would opt to sign players that are experienced and veterans of the game to help their rosters have a player to depend on with crucial experience that younger players may not have yet.
Players Who Are Currently Signed Under The NBA Veteran Minimum Salary
The most notable players under the NBA minimum salary are the following:
- Trevor Ariza with the Lakers team
- Andre Iguodala with the Warriors team
- Rajon Rondo with the Cleveland Cavaliers team
- Blake Griffin with the Brooklyn Nets team
These players fit the category with at least ten years or ten seasons of NBA experience.
Once a player signs this contract, they are entitled to the veteran contract’s benefits, pay, and other privileges.
However, superstars like Steph Curry and LeBron James have much higher contracts and a higher salary cap due to their skills, popularity, value to their team, and impact to the league.
Steph is the face of the Warriors team, while LeBron is the face of the Lakers team.
Bonus: The 10-Day Contract
Fun Fact: Did you know that a player’s lowest salary earned in the 2021-2022 season is $53,176 for a 10-day contract?
Basketball players who sign under this contract receive a prorated rate of the minimum salary of the NBA.
Here are the following people that have signed this contract:
- Moses Wright for the Los Angeles Clippers
- M.J. Walker for the Phoenix Suns
- Jon Teske for the Memphis Grizzlies
The Changes In NBA Minimum Salaries
The league’s minimum salary continues to increase annually because the salary cap increases. When reaching their second year, rookies should expect a good salary increment.
A rookie basketball player has to thank the CBA for the consistent increase of the minimum salary, allowing the minimum wage of NBA players to constantly increase.
However, it should be noted that spending on a player with a minimum wage means that a team or an organization that wants to spend on superstars have a bigger salary cap for them.
The purpose of both the minimum and maximum salary cap is to ensure that even the lowest compensated player in the league earns a decent wage and has opportunities to increase it.
It may seem ridiculous that some athletes playing with stars like LeBron are not getting the same compensation.
Still, with the inclusion of endorsements and other business dealings, it is understandable why some athletes are compensated higher than others.
The Drastic Change In NBA Salaries
It comes as no surprise that the NBA is one of the most successful brands globally, paying its superstars and valuable prospects ridiculous amounts of money and letting newcomers thrive.
While the relatively unknown athletes still earn a good wage playing professional basketball, the most famous and skilled athletes are compensated significantly higher.
For example, in 2015, Anthony Davis was able to sign the biggest five-year contract with his former team, the New Orleans Pelicans, for $145 million.
The drastic change in salaries is due to David Stern. The former NBA commissioner ensured that the league would become a global reach.
Since then, the league capitalization has grown exponentially.
Because of David Stern, the salaries will never fall to what they used to be, and the NBA as an organization will continue to grow as the game strives for a worldwide dominance in sports entertainment instead of being an exclusive American league.
The National Basketball Association is a multi-billion dollar industry that has the capabilities of generating revenue worldwide.
Similar to other sports leagues like the NFL, they pay their players a good salary to lock their future with job security and long-term contracts.
That’s not all. They pay their service workers well and ensure that the business benefits everyone consuming the sport – the player, the worker, and the viewers.
Thank you for reading my article. I hope you have gained more understanding of the minimum salary of the most popular basketball league in the world.