30 New NBA Millionaires & One 300-Pounder Paid $4M Without Playing


UCLA’s Kevon Looney had injury concerns. When Golden State selected Looney with the 30th pick in the draft, they instantly guaranteed him $2,285,760. Had he slipped a pick, he would have been guaranteed nothing.

Joel Embiid has cashed the first $4 million in checks and will have another $8 million to cash over the next two years after going No. 3 a year ago, undergoing surgery, ballooning to 300 pounds according to RealGM, and enduring an injury setback that could mean another year without ever stepping on an NBA Court.

Yahoo Sports first reported on the injury setback for the Philadelphia 76er who has played zero minutes in zero games. If the same thing happens to Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell, Houston pays him exactly zero dollars. As the second pick of the 2nd round, NBA teams make him no guarantees.

The pressure is not on the top players. When the Lakers picked D’Angelo Russell at No. 2 instead of Jahlil Okafor, Kristaps Porzingis, or Emmanuel Mudiay, it meant he would get close to $12.4 million during his guaranteed three years instead of falling to $11.1 million, $10 million, or $9 million. But let’s face it, you can live on that even after buying your mother a house.

The real pressure comes when players do not hear their names called as the commissioner reads off the No. 27, 28, 29, and 30 picks. A broken leg tomorrow and that money is still going in the bank, deposited over the course of the next three years, for a 1st-round pick. It doesn’t work the same way for the first pick of the second round as it does for the last pick of the first.

You can call a 1st-round pick a “bust” if he does not produce in the NBA. But his banker will not think of him as a failure.

Draft New Millionaire Minimum 3-year More likely College Yr Pro
1 Karl-Anthony Towns $11,517,280 $13,820,736 Kentucky Fr.  Minnesota
2 D’Angelo Russell $10,304,880 $12,365,856 Ohio State Fr.  LA Lakers
3 Jahlil Okafor $9,253,840 $11,104,608 Duke Fr.  Philadelphia
4 Kristaps Porzingis $8,343,360 $10,012,032 Latvia Intl.  New York
5 Mario Hezonja $7,555,360 $9,066,432 Croatia Intl.  Orlando
6 Willie Cauley-Stein $6,862,160 $8,234,592 Kentucky Jr.  Sacramento
7 Emmanuel Mudiay $6,264,480 $7,517,376 Congo Intl.  Denver
8 Stanley Johnson $5,738,880 $6,886,656 Arizona Fr.  Detroit
9 Frank Kaminsky $5,275,520 $6,330,624 Wisconsin Sr.  Charlotte
10 Justise Winslow $5,011,440 $6,013,728 Duke Fr.  Miami
11 Myles Turner $4,760,960 $5,713,152 Texas Fr.  Indiana
12 Trey Lyles $4,522,960 $5,427,552 Kentucky Fr.  Utah
13 Devin Booker $4,296,720 $5,156,064 Kentucky Fr.  Phoenix
14 Cameron Payne $4,082,080 $4,898,496 Murray St. So.  Oklahoma Cty
15 Kelly Oubre $3,877,600 $4,653,120 Kansas Fr.  Atlanta
16 Terry Rozier $3,684,000 $4,420,800 Louisville So.  Boston
17 Rashad Vaughn $3,499,680 $4,199,616 UNLV Fr.  Milwaukee
18 Sam Dekker $3,324,640 $3,989,568 Wisconsin Jr.  Houston
19 Jerian Grant $3,175,040 $3,810,048 Notre Dame Sr.  Washington
20 Delon Wright $3,048,000 $3,657,600 Utah Sr.  Toronto
21 Justin Anderson $2,926,080 $3,511,296 Virginia Jr.  Dallas
22 Bobby Portis $2,809,200 $3,371,040 Arkansas So.  Chicago
23 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson $2,696,880 $3,236,256 Arizona So.  Portland
24 Tyus Jones $2,588,800 $3,106,560 Duke Fr.  Cleveland
25 Jarell Martin $2,485,440 $2,982,528 LSU So.  Memphis
26 Nikola Milutinov $2,402,880 $2,883,456 Serbia Intl.  San Antonio
27 Larry Nance Jr. $2,333,600 $2,800,320 Wyoming Sr.  LA Lakers
28 RJ Hunter $2,319,360 $2,783,232 Georgia St. Jr.  Boston
29 Chris McCullough $2,302,480 $2,762,976 Syracuse Fr.  Brooklyn
30 Kevon Looney $2,285,760 $2,742,912 UCLA Fr.  Golden St.