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NBA Veteran’s Minimum: Detailed Salary Guide (2023)

An NBA veteran’s minimum salary depends on how many years of NBA experience a player has.

Example: For the 2023-2024 season, if a player with 10 years of NBA experience signs a 1-year minimum contract, he will be paid $2,905,851.

Read on for more details about NBA vet minimums, including:

  • Minimum salary by year / experience
  • What is considered a “veteran” in the NBA?
  • Veteran pay over the years
  • NBA salary cap implications
  • and more..

Let’s get started!

What is the NBA veteran minimum salary?

Patrick Beverly recently signed a vet minimum contract with the 76ers.

NBA veteran minimum salaries are paid according to the official NBA Minimum Salary Scale.

Here are the amounts from the most recent NBPA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA):

NBA Minimum Annual Salary Scale

Contract Year →
Experience ↓
Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5
01,017,781
11,637,966 1,719,864
21,836,090 1,927,896 2,019,699
31,902,133 1,997,238 2,092,344 2,187,451
41,968,175 2,066,585 2,164,993 2,263,403 2,361,812
52,133,278 2,239,943 2,346,606 2,453,270 2,559,934
62,298,385 2,413,304 2,528,221 2,643,140 2,758,060
72,463,490 2,586,665 2,709,839 2,833,013 2,956,189
82,628,597 2,760,026 2,891,458 3,022,889 3,154,319
92,641,682 2,773,765 2,905,850 3,037,934 3,170,018
10+2,905,851 3,051,144 3,196,438 3,341,730 3,487,023
2023 CBA – Exhibit C: BASELINE MINIMUM ANNUAL SALARY SCALE

How to read this chart:

First, look at how many years a player has been in the league (i.e. “Experience” column).

Players are credited with a “year” of service for each year they are on an NBA team for at least one day during the regular season. This includes players that were on 10-day contracts, Two Way contracts, as well as those who were only on the Inactive list.

Next, look at what year of the contract the player is in.

Here’s a simple example:

A player with 6 years of NBA experience signs a new 3-year minimum contract. In the first year of his contract, he will be paid $2,298,385 (i.e. 6 years experience, contract Year 1). In the last year of his contract, he will be paid $2,891,458 (i.e. 8 years experience, contract Year 3 ).

Recent Veteran minimum signings

Dario Saric recently signed a vet minimum with the Warriors.

Here are some recent examples of players who have signed veteran minimum contracts:

What is a considered a veteran in the NBA?

“Should I stay one more season?” – Recently retired Udonis Haslem was the ultimate NBA vet

How old do you need to be to be considered a “veteran” in the NBA?

Here’s the official definition from the CBA:

“Veteran” or “Veteran Player” means a person who has signed at least one Player Contract with an NBA Team.

(from Article I, Section I)

So, any player that has had at least one NBA contract (no matter the length) is considered an NBA veteran. A 22-year old can be considered a “veteran” as long as he has played through one contract.

Speaking of age…

Do veterans make less or more? Average pay by age

In my recent average NBA salary article, I analyzed the average pay by age in the NBA. Here were the results (from 2022-2023 season):

AgeAverage SalaryMedian SalaryNo. of Players
19-22$4,094,674$3,144,900110
23-26$8,764,558$3,901,399153
27-30$12,253,097$9,077,500110
31-34$17,434,942$12,080,37363
35-38$12,511,458$6,184,50017
39-42$1,836,090$1,836,0902*
(Data from basketball-reference.com)

From these results, you can see that on average, older players make a lot more compared to younger players. Players aged 31-34 are the highest paid. Players over 39 years old technically make the least, but there are only 2 of them (Iguodala and Haslem).

Veteran Minimum Contracts History & Adjustments

“Show me the money!” – Iguodala was on a vet min contract with the Warriors last season.

The NBA minimum salary is adjusted every season based on the salary cap.

So, if the salary cap increases 5% next season, then the minimum salary will also increase by 5%.

Veteran Minimum Increase Over The Years

How much has the minimum salary increased over the years?

Here is data from Sportac since 1995.

Since 1995, the minimum salary for a 10-year veteran on a one-year contract has increased about 11 times, or 1100% !!!

I would take that pay raise any day.

In comparison, the average NBA salary has only increased about 800%

Salary Cap Impact: Does the NBA veteran minimum count against the cap?

Sideshow Bob was on the veteran minimum last season with the Bucks.

So why would a team ever sign a 10-year NBA veteran if they need to pay him $1,000,000 more than a player with 2-3 years of experience?

Well, there’s leadership, playoff experience, mentoring young players, etc.

But, if a team has a cheap-ass owner like Donald Sterling, then they would definitely only want to sign less experienced players to save money.

To prevent this, the NBA actually reimburses teams for signing NBA vets.

To qualify for reimbursement, the player signed must have three or more years of NBA experience, and the contract can only be short-term (1 year, 10-day or Rest-of Season).

Teams are reimbursed for any amount over the current two-year minimum salary.

Example: A 10-year veteran signs a one-year minimum contract. He should be paid a minimum of $2,905,851. The team will only need to pay $1,836,090, and the league will pay the remaining amount from a league-wide fund.

Only the two-year minimum amount counts against the salary cap.

The team can then use that extra money to sign other players if needed.

Other Veteran Salary FAQ

What is the veteran minimum exception ?

Usually, a team can not sign a player if the contract takes them over the salary cap. There are some exceptions to the rule, though. One is called the “Minimum Player Salary Exception”.

Basically, a team can offer a player a minimum salary contract, even if it brings them over the salary cap. The contract can only be for a maximum of 2 years.

What is the veteran maximum contract?

The maximum salary a player can make is based on experience and the salary cap.

The salary cap for 2023-2024 is set at $136.021 million.

Here is a general maximum salary guide:

Years in NBAMaximum salary %2023-24
0 – 625% of salary cap$34,005,250
7 – 930% of salary cap$40,806,300
10+35% of cap$47,607,350

There are a few exceptions to this general guide rules, which allow a player to make over the maximum.

That’s why Steph Curry can make $51 million in 2023-2024. 💰

What is a “Designated Veteran Player”

The “Designated Veteran Player” is a player that is signed to a “Designated Veteran Player Contract” or “Designated Veteran Player Extension”.

Basically, this allows the team to pay a player with less than 10 years experience more than the amount stated in the Maximum Salary guide (above). For example, players with 7-9 years of experience can be paid 35% of the salary cap (instead of just 30%).

What is the Average NBA Salary?

The average NBA salary in 2022-2023 was around $8 million.

How much do rookies make in the NBA?

The minimum rookie salary for the 2023-2024 season is $1,017,781.

First round draft picks (if signed) are paid according to the Rookie Salary Scale.

Click here for more info about rookie and minimum salaries.

Summary

It really pays to stick around in the NBA. A 10-year veteran makes a minimum of nearly $3 million!

What do you think of the NBA veteran minimums?

Who’s the best vet on your favorite NBA team?

Let me know in the comments below:

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Larry Lee

Larry Lee

Larry is a basketball addict, and the founder of Hoop Dojo. He started Hoop Dojo to share his love of the game and help the next generation reach their full potential.