The Celtics drafted four players last month – Terry Rozier (who likes weird sandwiches), R.J. Hunter, Jordan Mickey and Marcus Thornton.
Rozier and Hunter are bound by rookie-scale contracts for first-round picks, and Thornton will likely forgo signing for this season.
That leaves Mickey.
Sources told the Herald there had been a breakdown in negotiations on a deal for the second-round draft pick, who has been extremely impressive the last two weeks.
According to sources, the Celtics were offering the No. 33 overall selection a four-year deal — two years guaranteed and two more at the team’s option — that was the richest given a second-round pick.
League sources here at the summer league said Mickey was looking for a shorter-term commitment and, when it appeared neither side would move, the 6-8 forward was prepared to sign the tender offer
By the afternoon, however, the sides were back discussing a longer-term arrangement.
“I’m comfortable,” said Mickey. “I’m still feeling good about it. I’m confident everything will work out.”
The Celtics must offer Mickey a one-year contract to keep his rights. Because that’s the only requirement, tenders for second-round picks are typically a non-guaranteed minimum contract. For rookies next year, that’s $525,093.
The Celtics obviously don’t want Mickey to hit free agency so quickly, so they have incentive to offer him more.
There are plenty of workarounds, including giving Mickey slightly more than the minimum in year one, guaranteeing a higher percentage of the deal’s final two years and/or dropping the final season. I bet Boston and Mickey reach a deal.
But expect these lengthy negotiations to become even more common in coming years. Not long ago, nearly all second-round picks accepted minimum or near-minimum contracts. But as the salary cap skyrockets, most player salaries will rise. There’s no reason second-round picks shouldn’t see some of that windfall.
First-round picks are stuck with a scale determined a few years ago – before the new national TV contract became part of the equation. It wouldn’t be surprising to see some second-rounders command more than first-rounders immediately after being drafted.
Mickey has more leverage than last year’s second-round class. Next year’s second-rounders will have even more.