Caitlin Clark can earn up to $500,000 during her rookie season, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert has claimed in an effort to quell outrage on the No. 1 draft choice’s low base salary.

The former Iowa star will make just $76,535 in base salary from the Indiana Fever, part of a four-year, $338,056 deal with the team. When that was revealed, outrage ensued, as the base is much lower than a comparable NBA amount.

Victor Wembanyama, the No. 1 pick in last year’s NBA draft, signeda four-year, $55.2 million rookie contract, the largest possible deal under the NBA’s current labor agreement. That comes to roughly $12 million in base salary as a rookie.

Engelbert has now clarified that Clark will likely make far more.

“[For a] CEO, do you just put the base pay in there? No, you put their bonus, you put their stock options, you put everything,” Engelbert said at a CNBC Changemakers event, according to NJ.com.

“Caitlin has the ability to make up to a half of a million dollars just in WNBA wages this year, so they’re just looking at a base, which is collectively bargained and [what is reported is] actually is low, because she’s the No. 1 pick.”

Clark’s base salary is limited by the WNBA’s collective bargaining agreement. That runs through 2027, but could end sooner, particularly if Clark helps raise the WNBA TV ratings.

Clark will also pick up money through endorsement deals with such corporate giants as Nike, Gatorade, State Farm and Goldman Sachs, among others.



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