Jalen Green to Rockets: No. 2 Pick's Projected Contract with Houston

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2021

FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2020, file photo, Prolific Prep's Jalen Green dribbles against La Lumiere during a high school basketball game at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. The G League's plan to sign elite players and offer them a spot in a one-year program that will prep them for the NBA draft is making a splash. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

Unlike many prospects in the 2021 NBA draft, Jalen Green has already signed a contract to play basketball professionally after lacing it up in the G League.

But he is in line for a more notable one after the Houston Rockets selected him with the No. 2 overall pick on Thursday.

As for the new deal Green is lined up to receive, RealGM provided an NBA rookie contract scale for the 2021-22 season. Green will receive approximately $7,493,500 in first-year salary, $7,868,100 in second-year salary and $8,243,000 in third-year salary as the No. 2 overall pick, although first-round picks can sign for as much as 120 percent of the rookie scale or as little as 80 percent of it.

What's more, his fourth-year option will be approximately 26.2 percent higher than his third-year salary, and his qualifying option will be 30.5 percent higher than his fourth-year salary.

Green appeared well on his way to an NBA contract when he was a 5-star prospect and the No. 2 overall player in the recruiting class of 2020, per 247Sports' composite rankings.

However, rather than going the traditional path of choosing a marquee college basketball program and playing there for at least a season, he chose to play in the G League.

"I wanted to get better overall and prepare myself for the NBA because that's my ultimate goal," Green told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. "Everything was planned out right and set up for me to succeed. I think this was a good decision at the end of the day. I'm still going to be able to go back to college and finish school. So, it's not really that I'm missing out on college because I can go back and finish whenever I need to. School is a big thing in my family."

Green played one season for the G League Ignite and averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 46.1 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from three-point range.

His ability to shoot from the outside, attack the basket off the bounce or as a slasher, get out in transition and defend multiple positions as a versatile playmaker stands out.

That should help him earn significant playing time for Houston during his rookie season. 

ESPN's Jonathan Givony reported before the draft that "the Rockets have been stonewalled in their attempts to bring in Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs for private workouts." Perhaps that contributed to their decision to take Green, but they are also getting a potential star who could help them usher in the post-James Harden era of the franchise.