basketball, nba, sports-330709.jpg

What Is The NBA Veteran Minimum?

For years the NBA has been notorious for large-scale, top-dollar contracts. The NBA may have the largest contracts for star players in North American sports, other than the MLB. After hundreds of millions are dealt out to superstar players, NBA teams fill their roster out with players on cheaper cap hits. A very commonly used cap management technique is signing established NBA veterans to affordable contracts. This is called the NBA veteran minimum. What exactly is the NBA veteran minimum?

The NBA veteran minimum salary changes from year to year, but typically it will be in the range of $2-2.5 million. The overall salary for the player varies depending on the number of years they have played in the league.

What Is The NBA Veteran Minimum?

NBA Veteran Minimum

The veteran minimum is a contract that teams can give to a player of veteran status. Usually, the overall contract for a veteran minimum will be in the $2-2.5 million range.

This type of contract is a great way for organizations to bring in players at a team-friendly price. No team is ineligible from using the minimum salary exception and it does not affect franchises that are above the salary cap limit. They have been brought into focus recently because superteams try to recruit players willing to sacrifice a bigger salary to win a ring.

How Much Do Teams Have To Pay for NBA Veteran Minimum Contracts?

The dollar amount for veteran minimum contracts varies depending on the years of experience that player has in the league.

Here is a full breakdown showing the amount a player can earn based on their experience in the league:

Years of NBA ExperienceVeteran Minimum Salary
Numbers based on reported 2020/21 Salary Cap numbers

A good example of this is Courtney Lee, who is a 12-year veteran. If Lee were to sign a one-year, minimum-salary contract with a new team, that team would only be charged $1,620,564 for Lee’s contract. He would earn $2,564,753, but the NBA would cover the difference.

NBA Veteran Minimum

Why Do Teams Sign Players To The NBA Veteran Minimum?

Every team wants to win an NBA Championship, that is the goal. To do that, you need the best players possible to fill out your roster. A staple in today’s NBA for success has been a superstar duo/trio teaming up or growing internally. This is great, and what you need, but with these superstar players comes large money contracts. Contracts that make it difficult to fill out the remaining spots on the roster with capable NBA talent.

The NBA doesn’t want teams to avoid signing veterans in favor of younger players. To help with this, the league reimburses clubs who sign veterans with three or more years of experience to one-year, minimum salary contracts. Those deals will only count against the cap for $1,620,564. This is the minimum salary for a player with two years of experience minimum. This type of contract can only be for one-year deals.

By utilizing the veteran minimum contract, teams can add experienced and talented players to an already contending roster. This player could have been a productive player in the league but was recently cut or bought out by their original team due to a high cap hit. Another version of this is a former superstar in the league at the tail end of his career, looking to take one more shot at an NBA Championship.

NBA Veteran Minimum

If you were curious about how veteran minimum contracts work in the NBA, I hope this article was helpful! The financial aspect of professional sports is arguably the most intricate and developed part of the business.

If you want to check out other NBA-related content, click here. Interested in reading something on another sport, just click here.