NBA 2nd Round Rookie Salary: Breaking Down Average Salary Structure of Round 2 Draft Picks

With Bronny James set to earn USD 7.9 million, over his four-year contract with the LA Lakers, here’s a breakdown of how much a round 2 draft pick rookie makes.

Published on Jul 04, 2024  |  04:04 PM IST |  414.4K
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NBA 2nd Round Rookie Salary: Breaking Down Average Salary Structure of Round 2 Draft Picks

Bronny James might not be the top prospect in the 2024 NBA Draft, but he’s definitely the most talked about. The Los Angeles Lakers picked Bronny in the second round on Thursday, with the No. 55 pick of the draft. But when it comes to how people view LeBron James' son, his contract details raise more questions.

Bronny is set to earn $7.9 million over his four-year contract with the LA Lakers, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. His contract also includes a team option for the fourth season. To put this in perspective, Colorado star Shedeur Sanders, who is second on the NIL charts, earned "just" $4 million in 2023. But how much does an average second-round draft pick make? Let's dig into it.

READ MORE: What is a No Trade Clause in the NBA? LeBron James New Lakers Deal Explained

NBA 2nd round rookie salary breakdown

Rookie salaries in the NBA are determined by the CBA, specifically through something called the "rookie wage scale." According to Sportico’s analysis of rookie contracts, second-round picks don't have salary caps. These players can sign for the league minimum of $1,276,599 for the next season or be designated as two-way players.

What is the rookie wage scale?

The rookie wage scale limits how much rookies can get paid before they even step onto a professional court. This system was introduced in 1995 because veteran players were upset that unproven rookies were getting more lucrative contracts than they were after years of service.

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According to the Sporting News, the tipping point came in 1994 when Glenn Robinson, the first overall pick, signed a 10-year deal worth $68 million. Such a contract was unprecedented, and the next year, the CBA was changed. Joe Smith, the No. 1 pick in 1995, signed a three-year contract worth $8.3 million.

While salaries have increased since then, the concept remains the same. Rookies, regardless of their team, have predetermined salaries based on where they are picked. These salaries are tied to a percentage of the overall salary cap for the upcoming season.

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How much do second-round picks make?

The rookie wage scale only applies to the first 30 picks of the NBA draft. For players selected from Pick 31 onward, teams can negotiate whatever contracts they want. Second-round picks usually get less favorable deals because they aren’t seen as sure NBA talents.

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Typically, second-round picks sign contracts with little or no guaranteed money. Many sign two-way contracts that split their time between the NBA and the G League.

For example, according to Sports Illustrated, Jalen Pickett, picked No. 32 in the 2023 NBA draft, signed a four-year $8.2 million contract with the Denver Nuggets, with $5.8 million guaranteed. On the other hand, Chris Livingston, the last pick in the second round, got a four-year deal from the Milwaukee Bucks worth $7.6 million, including $3.01 million guaranteed.

READ MORE: Bronny James Signs 4-Year, USD 7.9M Rookie Contract With the Los Angeles Lakers: Report

Minimum salary and two-way contracts

Second-round picks who make an NBA roster are entitled to a minimum salary based on their years of NBA experience. Some second-round picks may sign Two-Way contracts, allowing them to split time between the NBA team and its G League affiliate. These contracts come with a specific salary structure and provide additional income while developing skills in the G League.

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Bronny James' contract details

The team that picks Bronny can offer him any contract they see fit. However, as a second-rounder, he might not be seen as a guaranteed NBA talent, potentially limiting his earnings as a rookie.


Second-round selections often sign deals with little or no guaranteed money, and some agree to two-way contracts. But Bronny is an exception. His agent, Rich Paul, stated in a May interview with Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes that Bronny would not be signing a two-way contract. This might have deterred some teams, but it also means he can secure a bit more money from his prospective employer.

Bronny will earn $1.2 million in the 2024-25 season, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. His team option for 2027-28 will be worth around $2.5 million.

Salary Breakdown:

2024-25: $1,157,143

2025-26: $1,955,377

2026-27: $2,296,271

2027-28: $2,486,995 (team)

READ MORE: LeBron James And Wife Savannah James React to Lakers Drafting Son Bronny James With No 55 Pick

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About The Author

Natasha Bose, a master's graduate in English Literature from Indira Gandhi National Open University, is a Kolkata-based writer

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