In an effort to ensure being under the luxury tax for the upcoming NBA season, the Oklahoma City Thunder signed rookie Andre Roberson to a very rare and low deal.
Most rookies receive the maximum 120 percent of the rookie scale but the Thunder offered the 26th overall pick from Colorado just 80 percent.
Oklahoma City gave Andre Roberson 80 percent of the rookie scale (per @MarkDeeksNBA). We killed the Grizzlies when they did this recently.
— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) July 26, 2013
This means that the Thunder’s total salary for 2013-14 will be $70,375,510 which is just under the luxury tax threshold of $71,600,000. So there is a little over $1.2 million left for the Thunder to potentially sign someone else.
The 2013-14 rookie salary scale would have the 26th overall pick making $925,700 in year one, according to HoopsWorld. This means that 80 percent of that should have Roberson around $740,560 in his first year.
Roberson did not have any other options as a drafted rookie who is ineligible for free agency so when it was clear the Thunder weren’t budging from the least possible amount they could offer him, he had no choice but to accept.
As mentioned in the tweet above, the Grizzlies tried to do this with Xavier Henry at just 100 percent the rookie scale a few years back, but Henry held out long enough and eventually got the 120 percent.
I’m not sure how the Thunder convinced Roberson not to hold out. Maybe Roberson understood the situation the Thunder were in and was therefore prepared to sacrifice to be on the team. Maybe the Thunder convinced Roberson that they were doing him a favor in the first place simply by drafting him in the first round at all. We don’t know all of the details yet.