NBA Draft 2017 Contracts: What Can Top Picks Including Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz Expect to Earn?

The NBA draft is almost upon us and the machinations have already begun as teams jostle for position before June 22.

Dwight Howard has been traded to the Charlotte Hornets, with the Atlanta Hawks sending the 31st overall pick down the east coast and getting the 41st pick in exchange.

The Los Angeles Lakers, meanwhile, have been stockpiling first-round picks. Late Tuesday the Lakers sent Timofey Mozgov and D'Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick. They will now pick second, 27th and 28th overall.

But what can those rookie picks expect to earn? Under the 1995 Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NBA operates a rookie salary structure whereby first-year players sign four-year deals, with the first two years guaranteed and the final two optional.

The salary scale operates according to the position you are drafted at. The higher you go, the more money is guaranteed. So if Markelle Fultz is picked at number one, as expected, by the Philadelphia 76ers he could take home $5,091,500, per Spotrac.

Fultz will likely not earn exactly that because there is some room for maneuver. Rookies can sign for as little as 80 percent or as much as 120 percent of the salary scale. Karl-Anthony Towns, the no. 1 pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2015 NBA draft, earned $5,703,600 in his first year despite the first-year salary for 2015-16 being set at $4,753,000. The 76ers will likely pay Fultz over the cap if they draft him.

The second draft pick this year—possibly Lonzo Ball to the Lakers—will get $4,555,500. And it works down from there. Number three—potentially shooting guard Josh Jackson to the Boston Celtics—will earn $4,090,900 in his first year.

If the no. 1 pick for 2017 stays all four years with the team that drafts him, provided he signs for 100 percent of the rookie salary scale, he will earn $22,959,972.

You do want to be drafted in the first round, and not just because it's lucrative. While the NBA has to offer guaranteed contracts to all first-rounders, the rule doesn't apply for anyone drafted after that.