CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hassan Whiteside didn't hit the lottery, but his first NBA contract could bring him millions.
Talk about a change of fortunes.
A lucrative deal was deemed unlikely last month, when Whiteside's precipitous draft day drop pushed him from a projected fringe lottery (top 14) pick or late first round flier to the Sacramento Kings, who plucked the former Marshall big man off the second-round scrapheap.
Only NBA draft first-rounders are automatically guaranteed deals, but that didn't stop Whiteside.
The Kings and Whiteside agreed last week to a four-year, $3.8 million contract. The first two years of the deal are guaranteed, with team options for the third and fourth years.
"It's a great deal for both parties," said Andre Buck, Whiteside's agent. "It gives both sides a lot of flexibility, and provides Hassan the chance to develop."
So, $3.8 million? So much for scraping by on the one-year league minimum deal (approximately $450,000) or playing for a paltry NBDL salary (around $30,000) with nothing but empty arenas and empty pockets to look forward to.
That's where this story appeared headed a few weeks ago.
Whiteside went from financial windfall to freefall as the draft unfolded on June 24. He watched as 23 teams - including the Kings - passed on him with the first 32 picks.
Sacramento, who worked out Whiteside twice leading up to the draft, decided to pair the 7-footer with a bulkier big man, 6-11 DeMarcus Cousins, the team's first-round choice.
The Kings felt they lucked into Whiteside at No. 33, the third selection of the second round, so the organization paid him like the first-rounder most thought he was.
Huntington native and former Kentucky star Patrick Patterson, for instance, will earn at least a guaranteed $3.15 million over the next two seasons with the Houston Rockets, who selected him at No. 14. The deal Patterson sign Tuesday, like Whiteside's, has two guaranteed years and two option years.
The last automatically guaranteed contract, which goes to the 30th pick, is a three-year, $2.7 million pact.
Whiteside's salary is commensurate to the first-round's final selection, according to the NBA's 2010-2011 rookie salary scale.