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OKC Thunder: Thunder management trying to avoid luxury tax for one more season

The Thunder recently gave first-round pick Andre Roberson only 80 percent of his suggested first year salary. It's a shrewd and frugal move by the cash conscious franchise, helping to avoid hitting the luxury tax.
by Anthony Slater Published: July 28, 2013

Within the NBA's rookie pay scale, teams are given enough leeway to sign their first-rounders to between 80 percent and 120 percent of their pick's suggested value.

Almost always, rookies are quickly offered and sign near the maximum, like Steven Adams did last week, reaching a deal with the Thunder that will pay him $2.09 million next season, nearly $400,000 more than the suggested value of the 12th pick.

So that's why it was a bit surprising when, late last week, word also surfaced that the Thunder brass had lowballed its other first-round pick, signing Andre Roberson to only 80 percent of his first-year value.

The 2013-14 pay scale suggests the 26th pick make $925,700 next season. Its maximum value is around $1.1 million. But Roberson will only bring in $740,560.

On the surface, the move is a frugal one. Some have even grumbled that it was cheap, a small market franchise going against standard NBA thinking to save a couple hundred thousand dollars.

But in the grand scheme, it's far more complicated and financially beneficial than that. Because this minor move, along with a few others during this penny-pinching offseason, may end up saving OKC's only professional franchise millions down the road.

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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