First-round picks count against a team’s cap at the rookie-scale amount, a prescribed salary based on pick number, until one of three things happens:
- They sign a contract. Then they count at their actual salary, which is usually 120 percent of scale.
- They get renounced. This has happened just once – the Bulls with Travis Knight in 1996.
- They sign a letter pledging not to join the NBA for a year. Then, they come off the cap completely for that year.
The Suns have convinced Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom they drafted No. 27, to take the third option.
Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com:
Likely, the Suns knew Bogdanovic would sign this letter when they drafted him. They might have even chosen him over prospects they rated higher in a vacuum because he signed this letter.
Even if they can’t lure LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony – though that is still technically possible, I suppose – the Suns want to maximize cap room for free agents.
They also just drafted T.J. Warren and Tyler Ennis, adding two rookies to an already young roster. Players need minutes to grow, and playing time is already tight in the desert. By adding Bogdanovic later, Phoenix can stager its developmental burden.
The Suns couldn’t trade the No. 27 for a future first rounder as they desired, but this essentially gets them the same result.