The 76ers officially signed first round draft picks, Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams. Finally.
Noel will make $3,172,320 this season and $3,315,120 next season with team options of $3,457,800 in 2015-16 and $4,384,490 in 2016-17. Carter-Wiliams will make $2,200,920 this season and $2,300,040 next, with team options of $2,399,040 in 2015-16 and $3,183,526 in 2016-17. But that’s not surprising news. What is news is the fact that they both signed contracts that are worth 120% of their draft slot.
What does that mean? The NBA has a rookie wage scale that determines how much money a team can sign a draft pick for based on the players draft position. But that number is not absolute. A team has the leeway to offer their draft picks anywhere from 80% to 120% of the suggested value. When teams like the Sixers want to make their draft picks happy, they offer 120% over draft slot.
If they wanted to get keep both players happy with maximum value contracts, why did it take so long to get them signed? The Sixers wanted to preserved cap room flexibility. The cap holds for rookies before they sign is only 100% of the draft slot allotment. By waiting to sign both players, the Sixers were able to use that extra 20% for increased flexibility with trades and free agent signings. Of course neither of those things ended up happening, but it was still a smart move by GM Sam Hinkie.
For comparison sake, remember when Noel was projected to be the #1 pick in the draft? The 4 year value of Noel’s contract with the 76ers is $14.3 million. Actual #1 pick Anthony Bennett’s contract is worth $22.8 million over 4 years. If Noels plays up to his potential that’s a huge discount.