For example, in year one, the rookie wage scale for the 2016-17 season is set at $4.9 million, but teams can pay 120 percent over that amount, giving Simmons $5.9 million for his first year if he’s the No. 1 pick. His second year salary would be $6.17 million and $6.43 million for Year 3. You also have to assume any team drafting him would pick up his fourth-year option, projected to be almost $8 million, giving him a total of $26.5 million over his first four seasons. If he waited to declare until the 2017-18 season, his first four years would total $27.5 million in compensation. But that extra year costs him more than just $1 million, because he would be able to sign a max deal in Year 5.
This season, a player with 0 to 7 years of service could sign a $16.4 million contract. But that’s based on a salary cap of $70 million, or 23.4 percent of a team’s maximum spending allowance.
New television contracts are expected to drive the salary cap much higher, with the 2020-21 cap, the year Simmons could sign his first maximum deal, projected to be $104 million. That means his max deal would be worth $24.3 million, making his total five-year compensation $50.9 million.
Were he to have waited until after his sophomore season to declare, he could have been eligible for a max contract following the 2021 season. This way, he gets an extra year jump on that big spike.