Andre Roberson is one in a million when it comes to the rookie scale. The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed Andre Roberson for 80 percent of the rookie scale in year one in a move to avoid paying the luxury tax. Roberson was the No. 26 overall pick in June's NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, and was later traded to the Thunder.
Oklahoma City gave Andre Roberson 80 percent of the rookie scale (per @MarkDeeksNBA). We killed the Grizzlies when they did this recently.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) July 26, 2013
According to the current CBA, there is a pre-determined rookie salary scale that is dependent on where a player is drafted. The 26th pick's salary scale is:
Year 1: $925,700
Year 2: $967,400
Year 3: $1,009,000
Year 4: Year 3 * 1.803
Teams are not beholden to these exact numbers, however. They may sign their draft picks to as low as 80% of this scale or as high as 120% of this scale. ShamSports is reporting that Roberson has agreed to 80% in year 1, but then 120% in years 2 and 3, and then year 4 and the qualifying offer is based on this higher amount:
Year 1: $925,700 * 0.8 = $740,560
Year 2: $967,400 * 1.2 = $1,160,880
Year 3: $1,009,000 * 1.2 = $1,210,800 (team option)
Year 4: $1,210,800 * 1.803 = $2,183,072 (team option)
Restricted free agent qualifying offer = year 4 * 1.476 = $3,222,215
All multipliers are available at Hoopsworld
Normally, rookies are offered 120 percent of the slot scale, because the base numbers are relatively low. Occasionally teams will offer 100 percent of the scale, but then tack on incentives that can push the contract to 120 percent. It is rare to see a player be offered the lowest end of the scale, but as Mark Deeks of ShamSports reports, this is what OKC has offered Roberson for his first year in the league.
How common is it for teams to go lower than the standard 120 percent? It is rare, but not without precedent.
SB Nation reports that:
The Memphis Grizzlies tried to sign Xavier Henry for 100 percent of the scale plus incentives in 2010, but Henry held out and the Grizzlies eventually relented and offered 120 percent of the scale. The Chicago Bulls also refused to give Marcus Teague the traditional 120 percent last summer.
Deeks also tweeted:
Raul Lopez got 80% in year 1. George Hill got 120% in years 1 and 2 then 80% in 3 and 4! RT @spmcis first time 1st round pick signs for 80%?— Mark Deeks (@MarkDeeksNBA) July 26, 2013
It isn't apparent as to why Roberson agreed to the 80 percent, because as the CBA FAQ reports, there is a rookie cap exception that allows a team to sign their rookies to the scale even if it goes above the cap line. With Roberson taking the 80%, the Thunder's salary is now up to $70,375,510 for the 2013-14 season, just below the luxury tax threshold of $71,600,000.