NBA Veteran Minimum Explained – How Much Do These Players Make?

NBA veteran minimum explained

3 minutes

Last Updated: May 24, 2024

Scott Kostov

NBA veteran minimum contracts are a crucial asset for any front office looking to build a title contender. If you have one of the best NBA shot blockers on your roster, you better get some cheap shooters to help on the other end.

Much like the NBA Trade Exception, veteran minimums are a part of the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) meant to help cash-strapped title contenders elevate themselves above the competition.

So, what is the NBA veteran minimum? Who are the players taking these deals to get a shot at a ring and how much do rookies make in comparison? Let’s find out!

NBA Veteran Minimum Explained: What is The NBA Veteran Minimum?

The NBA veteran minimum contract is a part of the CBA which determines the minimum amount an NBA player must be paid depending on their experience. Since there is no absolute minimum salary in the NBA, the NBA Players Association has come up with a way to guarantee all NBA players a decent income.

Players cut from another team usually end up on NBA veteran minimum contracts. Or they have been available for a while due to injury or poor play. Regardless, these players usually look to join a team that can compete for a championship. 

The problem is, that these teams rarely have the cap space to be able to afford them. So players usually settle for the guaranteed minimum wage for a single season. NBA minimum contracts are rarely 2 years long, and more often than not, just last through a playoff push to give the team some depth in case of an injury.

With the NBA trade deadline coming, a lot of players will find themselves on the open market after being cut or waived. So this is the bare minimum they can make in the second half of the season by joining a new team.

2023-24 Minimum Contract by Years of Experience:

  • 0 Years of Experience = $1,119,563
  • 1 Years of Experience = $1,801,769
  • 2 Years of Experience = $2,019,706
  • 3 Years of Experience = $2,092,354
  • 4 Years of Experience = $2,165,000
  • 5 Years of Experience = $2,346,614
  • 6 Years of Experience = $2,528,233
  • 7 Years of Experience = $2,709,849
  • 8 Years of Experience = $2,891,467
  • 9 Years of Experience = $2,905,861
  • 10+ Years of Experience = $3,196,448

Minimum Contracts NBA

Of course, these players don’t have to settle for these contracts. This is the bare minimum the league insists they must receive based on the length of their career. As you can notice, the longer they’ve played, the more money they can demand.

So that puts rookies at a disadvantage. Indeed, rookies make the least amount of money. According to the current CBA, any player who has completed at least one NBA contract is a veteran. Of course, this doesn’t include 10-day contracts and two-way contracts. 

So if you get drafted and you sign your contract, you won’t be considered a veteran until that contract runs out. This is done for legal purposes, so there’s no confusion about what rights players have once they enter free agency.

We don’t continue referring to players as rookies past their first season, but in financial terms, they are until they sign an extension. Most of the first-round picks get contracts worth several million dollars.

Rookie Minimum NBA 

If the player was drafted in the top 5, he will definitely command a contract worth 30-40 million dollars over its 4-year span. Unlike the NFL, even players picked in the later rounds have guaranteed contracts.

Players drafted in the second round of an NBA draft have contracts with 2 years guaranteed, unlike the 4 years first-round picks get. When it comes to NBA minimum contracts, second round picks usually get the shorter end of the stick.According to the CBA, no rookie can earn less than $1,119,563 over the course of a season. Additionally, with every year of experience added, his minimum salary increases. That’s why second year players during the 2023/24 NBA season can earn no less than $1,7 million.

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