A couple years ago – due to the NBA’s dated rookie scale and the national TV contracts causing a salary-cap boom – some second-round picks got paid more than first-round picks.
The league mostly addressed that issue by tying the rookie scale to the salary cap.
But because second-rounders can negotiate any contract and first-rounders are tied to the scale, there will still be oddities – like No. 37 pick Gary Trent Jr.‘s deal with the Trail Blazers.
Second-round picks rarely receive three guaranteed seasons when signing the same year they’re drafted. The Mavericks guaranteed A.J. Hammons three years in 2016 (and regretted it).
By rule, first-round picks receive just two guaranteed seasons – though with higher salaries. So, even on his minimum contract, Trent will receive a larger guarantee than six first-rounders.
Here are the guarantees for Trent and the bottom of the first round:
24. Anfernee Simons (POR): $3,985,080
38. Gary Trent Jr. (POR): $3,919,177
25. Moritz Wagner (LAL): $3,825,600
26. Landry Shamet (PHI): $3,698,760
27. Robert Williams (BOS): $3,591,960
28. Jacob Evans (GSW): $3,570,120
29. Dzanan Musa (BRK): $3,543,840
30. Omari Spellman (ATL): $3,518,280
Trent will be locked into the minimum in the third year of his contract. Wagner, Shamet, Williams, Evans, Musa and Spellman will receive much more – if their team options get exercised.
So, they have higher upsides on their deals. But Trent — an ace 3-point shooter with lacking all-around game, particularly defensively — has a higher floor.
In exchange, Trent locked into a cheap salary for three years with Portland, essentially betting against himself. But security matters, too.