Hamidou Diallo had to wait until the second round to be selected on NBA Draft night, but the former University of Kentucky guard has reportedly agreed to a comfortable contract with his new team.
Diallo will sign a three-year contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder worth $4 million, according to a report Wednesday by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. There is no word yet as to how much of the money is guaranteed, but an annual average salary of $1,333,333 compares favorably to the salary slot of the final pick of the first round, which receives an average of $1,529,600.
“It’s a blessing. It’s an honor no matter what pick it is,” Diallo said on draft night. “Only a couple guys get this opportunity in a lifetime. You’ve got to cherish it and stay humble and hungry. That’s the motto I’m living by: I’m humble and hungry and that’s the motto I’m going to keep living by no matter what happens.”
Diallo’s contract matches the one reportedly agreed to by former UK teammate Jarred Vanderbilt, who was selected No. 41 by the Denver Nuggets and agreed to $4 million over three years.
Diallo, a 6-foot-5, 198-pound guard from Queens, N.Y., averaged 10.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game during his redshirt freshman season at UK.
“Here’s a young man ... one of the nicest people, one of the most loyal people that I’ve coached,” UK’s John Calipari said in a video posted after Diallo was drafted. “(He’s) respectful in every way. He goes into this league well prepared to make it.”
Diallo played in five games for the Thunder in the recently completed NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He averaged 10.8 points and 4.8 rebounds and shot 49 percent from the field.
Diallo joins an Oklahoma City roster that includes fellow former University of Kentucky players Nerlens Noel and Patrick Patterson in addition to All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
“I went 45th in the draft, but I feel like the draft is over now,” Diallo told USA Today’s OKC Thunderwire. “You can be the No. 1 pick or the 60th pick, it doesn’t matter. We’ve seen it happen multiple times where the No. 1 pick doesn’t pan out and the 60th pick does. So you just got to go out there and work hard and just always know that it’s not about your pick, it’s all about fit and how bad do you want it?”