Even diehard and lifelong NBA fans have wondered if Summer League players get paid at least once in their lifetime. And if you seem to be the exception to that rule, then you can’t deny that you’re wondering precisely that as you read this sentence.
Of course, we know drafted rookies — both in the first and second rounds — get money from NBA teams, but what about those who are looking to get a spot on the roster? What about their time, their effort, and the risk they put their bodies through to be there?
Explained: Do Summer League players get paid?
Truth be told, there’s little to no information online when it comes to Summer League salary. Even so, we’ll try our best to dig deep into this matter and clear most of your doubts. Keep scrolling to finally find out if Summer League players get paid.
What is NBA Summer League?
The Summer League pretty much gives young players the opportunity to showcase their skills for the very first time. Some of the best NBA Draft classes have made it clear how special they are from the very first day, and some of the greatest second-round picks of all-time took it upon themselves to prove that they shouldn’t have fallen that far in the draft in the first place.
Simply put, the Summer League is when rookies make their unofficial debuts, granted that they’re healthy enough. Second-year players also usually take the floor with their teams, except those who are already stars, starters, or have proven themselves despite having little-to-no time in the league.
Undrafted players may also join NBA teams to try and showcase their talents. That way, any team in the NBA — not only the team that gave them a chance — could sign them to their roster. Last but not least, former NBA players looking to get another shot at cracking a roster could also play in the Summer League, but that’s less common.
How much do Summer League players get paid?
Ok, so now that we’ve given you some context, let’s get to the core of the issue. The short answer is yes, but it all depends, obviously. As we already mentioned, this league gives the players an opportunity to make a name for themselves, but it’s not exactly glamorous.
Those who have already been drafted will get a salary according to their contracts. As such, they have a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that stipulates how much money they should get for their participation in this tournament.
On top of that, all players will get $1500 in allowance for the duration of the competition, which translates to roughly $136 per day across the 11 days of the competition. Needless to say, that’s far from impressive, especially considering the league makes millions. But hey, at least they get the chance to, one day, be millionaires as well.
What’s the difference between Summer League and Preseason?
As we already mentioned, undrafted players might join different teams for the Summer League, but that doesn’t mean they have a roster spot yet. Likewise, a rival team could be interested in your services as a player and simply offer you a contract.
That’s not the case in the preseason. Preseason rosters are pretty much the final roster a team carries into the season. Players on the preseason roster are almost a lock to play in the regular season and the playoffs, as they’re already signed.
Moreover, teams usually play their starters — or at least their rotation players — in the preseason. Summer League, on the other hand, doesn’t feature star players or veterans, and the team isn’t even coached by the actual head coach.