Cat Barber didn’t get a lot of playing time with the Pelicans’ summer league team this month, but he’ll still have a shot to make an NBA roster this fall. Barber has signed a contract with the Philadelphia 76ers that is partially guaranteed, per a report from The Vertical’s Shams Charania.
So what does that mean for Cat? First and most obviously, he’s got some money coming his way. He’ll also be one of the 20 players at 76ers’ training camp, giving him the opportunity to earn his way onto the regular season roster of 15, though that is not likely to happen.
His guarantee is probably not huge—maybe in the $50,000 to $100,000 range—and he would have to make it past an early January deadline with the Sixers for his full (and much larger) rookie-season salary to become fully guaranteed.
More likely, Barber will be assigned by the Sixers to their D-League affiliate following training camp. The salaries in the D-League are paltry—$26k at best—but the financial guarantee from the Sixers effectively triples or quadruples that salary.
So, factoring in the guarantee and his potential NBADL salary, he has an offer to stay in the Sixers organization that is competitive with most international offers, which is an important point. NBA teams take these financial fliers on kids to keep them stateside and within their own organizations.
It’s possible that Barber surprises everybody and makes the Sixers’ roster, but these sorts of deals with rookies are aimed toward the longer term. Whether or not Cat makes the team this year, he’ll be making enough playing basketball to support his family. That’s not bad for the first year of his professional career.