In total, 60 basketball players will hear their names called at the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night. But the honor of being the first player picked also comes with the biggest rookie payday.
This year, the player selected No. 1 overall by the Phoenix Suns could be paid as much as $8 million.
NBA rookies' pay is determined by a salary scale that changes year-over-year based on the percentage by which the league raises teams' salary caps, which will be determined later this summer.
For the No. 1 pick, that means a base pay of about $6.8 million over the course of his first year in the NBA, according to sports website RealGM, which estimated rookie salaries for the upcoming season starting in October.
What's more, teams are allowed to pay first round picks 20 percent more if the players fulfill certain incentives (like playing in offseason drills and workouts). Last year's top pick, the Philadelphia 76ers' Markelle Fultz, was slated to receive $5.85 million in his rookie year, but the team eventually paid him $7 million, according to Sportrac.
The draft's other top players will make out well too: the second pick will make about $6 million and the third about $5.4 million, estimates RealGM.
Even at the very bottom of the first round, the player drafted 30th overall is expected to earn around $1.3 million in his first year in the league.
There is not set salary scale for the 30 players selected in the draft's second round, but none of them will make less than the league minimum salary (over $560,000) if they sign with a team.
Rookie contracts are guaranteed for the first two years of a player's career, with teams then having the option to extend the contracts in the third and fourth years as the player's salary increases exponentially each year.
This year, the Phoenix Suns are widely expected to select University of Arizona center Deandre Ayton with the first overall pick in the draft. While Ayton's status as a No. 1 pick won't be cemented until Thursday night, he's already started reaping some of the benefits of NBA stardom.
On Monday, Ayton signed a four-year, multi-million dollar endorsement contract with sportswear company Puma. The company did not release the terms of the deal, but it had previously been reported that Puma was offering Ayton over $1 million a year to wear and endorse its shoes and other apparel.
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