What is the NBA Veteran Minimum Salary?

One of the biggest goals for every basketball player is to play in the NBA. However, there are some rules and exceptions in the league. Some hardcore fans do not know about these rules when it comes to the payment and salaries of these players.

Typically, everyone in the NBA will earn what their team pays, but the contract differs from veteran salaries. As you probably know, not every player in the NBA has the same contract, and veteran salaries are one area that has confused fans for a long time.

Check below for all you need to know about NBA Veterans and their salaries. We will break down all the relevant details about NBA veteran salaries, including answering the minimum and average salary.

What is the NBA Veteran Minimum Salary 2022?

The MBA veteran’s minimum salary is not a constant amount that any player on a minimum contract will receive. The salary is usually dependent on the number of years of experience the player has in the league. Considering the 2021-2022 season, a second-year player would be on a salary of just below $1.5 million. Another player with a minimum of 10 years’ accrued experience would have a salary of up to $2.6 million.

Many NBA veterans that sign the minimum deal with the experience of more than a couple of years will seldom sign for more than two years on the minimum. This is because these players want to play well enough to get a more lucrative contract.

Contrary to popular beliefs, the players union or the NBA do not disclose the exact salaries of players. Insiders of the league that have connections to players, managers and NBA agents collect these numbers from various sources. These insiders are also skilled at calculating salaries based on their knowledge of the NBA collective agreement.

Who is a Veteran in the NBA?

Blake Griffin Veteran Minimum Salary
Image Source: @blakegriffin23

Before diving into the numbers and salaries, we need to understand who an NBA veteran is. An NBA Veteran is a player that has signed a minimum of one contract with an NBA team. By this definition, even 23-year-old players can be veterans if their rookie deal completes. Typically, it takes about 2 to 3 years before you can classify a player as a veteran considering the length of rookie deals and especially free-agent rookies or second-round picks.

Usually, when players perform well enough on a deal, they will get an NBA veteran extension. Of course, there are rules guiding this, including that the player must have only one or two years remaining on their present deal. Another factor is that the player must be entering their eighth or ninth year in the league and only moved teams once by trade. Designated veteran player extensions are the most valuable contracts in the game and have a different contract from NBA veteran minimums.

Also, depending on who you ask, they may have different definitions of NBA veterans. If we are only considering the experience and the number of years a player has spent in the NBA, there is no universal standard. However, the most common definition of a veteran is a player playing for a minimum of 10 years and gathered considerable experience in that time.

Do NBA Veterans Make Less Than Other Players?

NBA players get paid their worth in the league. Minimum players earn the minimum veteran salary, and max contract players can get anywhere from $200 million. It is a significant pay gap where other players in the team will fit in based on their experience and skills.

Veterans are peculiar because, unlike most players that will typically ask for the most money possible, veterans will go lower than value when they want to sign for specific organizations or teams. Veterans choose when they desire to play in a particular team or are vying for a ring.

In recent years, signing veterans on low contracts has become more common due to the emphasis on super teams. The Nets and Lakers have brought many older players to their roster when they want to create more depth throughout the season.

With that being the case, signing many big names is impossible for all the teams. This is why there is a veteran minimum salary. Instead of a need to give all the big stars large contracts, they can take a one- or two-year deal for much lower.

Why Do NBA Teams Benefit from Signing Veterans?

Every team in the NBA has a salary cap which is the highest amount they can pay for salaries. Teams would sign veterans and assign the minimum wages to have space for signing other players before hitting their cap. Many times, these contracts aren’t long term, and the veterans don’t usually stay over a year in any team.

The NBA wants to protect its veterans that have made careers out of playing basketball. So, the NBA uses a system of stopping teams from signing younger players that have more minor cap hits. This way, all players signed on the veteran minimum will lead to the same cap hit regardless of their paycheck over the years.

The Veteran minimum salary discourages teams from focusing on just new players by reimbursing teams that sign veterans with a minimum of 3 years’ experience/one-year minimum salary contracts. The team will only pay the team’s cap for $1,669,178 and the NBA will cover the difference.

How Average Salary is Calculated?

You can get the average salary by adding the wages of all the NBA players in a season and dividing it by the total number of contract players. This number will not usually show in the amount that NBA players are likely to earn, as the actual salaries of players cover a wide range.

NBA average salaries give information about how sound NBA players are paid compared to other years. The average salary amount also guides the general bargaining agreement between the National Basketball Association for the average exclusion clause level.

Types of Minimum Contracts

The veteran minimum for the 2011-2022 season has a cap of $2.6 million. Trevor Ariza and Blake Griffin are veterans with over ten years of experience, so their salary is more than that. Another type of minimum contract in the NBA is the rookie minimum. This is the pay that rookies who did not get a more significant contract receive on entry to the league. For the 2021-2022 season, the rookie minimum is about $925,000.

Players will sign contracts based on the minimum value of their years’ experience after the start of the season to get a prorated portion of the minimum. Overall, the numbers for the 2021-2022 season show a 3% increase on the previous season as broadcast deals and other revenues help the salary cap increase yearly. The 2022-2023 season should see a 8.5% increase.

Can an NBA Player Accept a Contract Below the Veteran’s Minimum?

Yes. Technically, an NBA veteran can accept contracts below the Veteran’s minimum. This is because NBA veteran players can take 10-day contracts. However, they cannot take more than two consecutive 1- day contracts or the team will have to sign them for the remainder of the season. In a scenario like this, the team will prorate the amount to be at least what he would’ve made for each game in the Veteran’s minimum contract.

Another consideration is the players that work for the team on the practice squad but do not play in games. These players typically make far less than the veteran minimum. However, the collective bargaining agreement does not allow veterans to be on contracts lower than a certain level when discussing entire season contracts.

What is the Average Salary of NBA Veterans?

The average salary of NBA veterans is per season. For the 2020-2021 season, the average salary is approximately $7.5 million. The salary cap for the same season is $109.1 million.

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How the NBA Salary Cap Relates to Veterans

Player’s salaries directly affect the league’s financial health, so it is of particular concern. A salary cap is dependent on the league’s revenue forecast for the forthcoming season with a sharing formula where 50% of the income goes to the club owners. The other 50% is for basketball salaries. So, it works in a balanced manner where if the leagues earn more, the athletes will also make more.

NBA has laid down rules for salaries, and the minimum wage in the NBA is usually around 1.5 – 2.5 million per season, depending on the length of service of the players. Many players will spend their first couple of seasons in the NBA on a fixed rookie salary before they start making some real money. This is why the majority of the rookies are far off the leaders when it comes to earnings.

Contract terms can range from one season to five years, and in this period, they will typically not revise the salaries. Players cannot ask for an increase in the middle of contracts, and they cannot reduce their wages for whatever reason. NBA Players only get paid during the regular season. There is a small bonus fund they get from the NBA in the playoffs, but it is not a large sum of money, especially by athlete’s standards.

What is the Minimum Wage in the NBA?

The lowest possible salary for an average NBA player is $925,258. It is the lowest salary any NBA player can receive, which only applies to a couple of players. This range applies to only NBA players that do not have any previous experience in the NBA. The minimum


There is a downside to being a veteran as it is a struggle to stay relevant. After earning the big bucks, many of them want to get a ring before they retire, so they take pay cuts to remain relevant.

However, even at reduced rates, most veterans earn more money than some people ever would in their lifetime.

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