NBA veteran minimum salary explained

Cody Zeller, Miami Heat. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
Cody Zeller, Miami Heat. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /

The big spending of the 2023 free agency period is likely behind us. Marquee guys like Kyrie Irving, Jerami Grant, and Fred VanVleet have already inked their big deals. And now, most of the signings we’ll be hearing about will likely be around the minimum.

But exactly how much is the minimum?

Ah, I thought you’d never ask. And just in case you never asked, I put together a quick post (this one) to help explain how minimum contracts work in the NBA.

You see, the NBA isn’t that different from most corporations. They just have a lot more money in the pot. And just like most corporations, they have measures in place to make sure that players earn more money as they accrue seniority. Minimum contracts are no different.

The years of experience an NBA player has, the higher their minimum contract is. And (again, like most organizations), there is a limit to how much experience can increase the floor of a player’s yearly earnings. After a player hits the ten years played in the NBA, their minimum contract rate isn’t any different than any other player who has hit this mark.

So, a player playing their eleventh season in the league who is on a minimum contract doesn’t make any more than a player playing their 14th season in the league who is also on a minimum contract. But they would make more than someone playing in their eighth season on the league and on a minimum contract.

A great case study in this practice can be seen with the New Orleans Pelicans newly acquired big man Cody Zeller. The Pelicans signed him to the veteran minimum, and he’s got ten years of experience under his belt. So, he will be making the same amount as DeAndre Jordan (roughly 3.2 million dollars) will be on the veteran minimum (he signed with the Denver Nuggets) with 15 seasons of experience under his belt.

With all this established, here is the scale for minimum contracts for this upcoming season based on years of experience in the NBA:

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

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