If RJ Hunter wants to pocket more cash than Jordan Mickey over the next two years, he's going to have make up some ground on plane ride poker games. Or challenge the LSU grad to some high stakes H-O-R-S-E action. Or maybe there's a Dunkin Donuts or Sullivan Tire commercial in his future. But the checks coming from Causeway Street will give Mickey the upper hand over his first round counterpart for the next couple seasons.
Jordan Mickey, the No. 33 pick, will make more than RJ Hunter (No. 28) over the first two seasons of their contracts.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) July 30, 2015
Looks like Hunter got the maximum 120% of the rookie scale. Still, Mickey capitalized on dropping out of the first round/impressing in SL.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) July 30, 2015
In year one of their deals Mickey will bank $1,170,960 compared to Hunter's $1,148,640. In year two it's $1,223,653 for Mickey and $1,200,240 for Hunter. Both have team options for years three and four. If the Celtics choose to pick up both options in year four of each deal, Hunter will finally outpace Mickey (by almost a million - $2,259,787 vs. $1,329,039). Each getting to year four of their deals is far from guaranteed. If both are with the C's in four years, that would be a big win for the franchise in the increasingly important cheap young talent department.
The Celtics offered Hunter as much as they could, so this isn't a reflection of how they feel about the young scorer. It's really more of an endorsement of Mickey and an exploitation of how the league allows its teams to sign second round picks. Since second rounders are not guaranteed an NBA deal when they are selected, teams have more latitude. There isn't a rookie scale beyond the first round. Rebuilding teams such as the Celtics can sign their late round selections to four year contracts as a way to lock up young talent. Mickey's reps likely threatened to pull a KJ McDaniels, and Ainge responded with the most lucrative contract ever for a second round pick. If Mickey hits, the Celtics' options on years three and four of the contract could generate great value; if Mickey flames out, it's still a relatively cheap two year commitment with respect to the rising salary cap.
For Hunter, he can take solace in the fact that ESPN Insider just projected him to be the sixth most effective rookie. Hunter's high ranking is thanks to his high volume of threes, steals, and blocks. Let's hope that both he and Mickey can fill up stat sheets throughout their rookie deals with the Celtics.
Photo Credit Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images
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