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Paige Bueckers’ WNBA Salary Projection is Dwarfed by Her Endorsement Deals

Paige Bueckers


Paige Bueckers yells during a UConn game.

Paige Bueckers‘ salary projections for her rookie WNBA season are insignificant when compared to her current endorsement deals. 

Prior to announcing that she would be returning to UConn on February 16, ESPN projected Bueckers as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, which is currently held by the Chicago Sky.

The WNBA’s collective bargaining agreement decrees that the draft’s first selection (which will surely be Caitlin Clark) must earn a 2024 rookie salary of $76,535. In comparison, the No. 10 pick in the draft earns about a $70,000 base salary.

Therefore, if Bueckers had been selected with the No. 3 pick, her base WNBA salary next season would have been about $75,000.  

This projection doesn’t include performance-based incentives, such as the $1,500 provided to those who make the All-WNBA Rookie Team or All-WNBA Defensive Team, or the $5,150 allocated to the Rookie of the Year. Players also earn an extra $11,356 if they win the WNBA Championship.

Yet, even if Bueckers won a WNBA Championship next season along with every rookie award the league offers, her WNBA earnings would still pale in comparison to her $643,000 NIL evaluation, according to

While Bueckers would still make that NIL money in the WNBA, the UConn standout’s potential WNBA salary wasn’t enough to convince her to go pro. 

Bueckers Has Endorsement Deals With Nike, Gatorade, and Dunkin’

The 2024 BIG EAST Player of the Year is swimming in endorsements. 

According to, Bueckers currently has 16 NIL deals in place. These include sponsorships with renowned brands like Nike, GoArmy, Dunkin’, Nerf, Bose, crocs, and Gatorade.

Bueckers’ Gatorade deal is especially significant. It made her the first student-athlete to ever sign an NIL deal with the iconic beverage company

When Gatorade’s global head of sports marketing Jeff Kearney was asked by ESPN why he wanted to make history with Bueckers, he said, “From her electrifying performances on the court to fueling change off of it, Paige exemplifies everything it means to be a Gatorade athlete.

“Partnering with her is a statement to the next generation of our continued commitment to women in sport.” Kearny continued.

NIL deals are still coming for Bueckers. In October 2023, a deal was made between her and Topps, a popular trading card and collectible company.

With her growing endorsement profile, Bueckers can now chase a championship at UConn instead of chasing a WNBA salary.

Bueckers Has Unfinished Business at UConn

On February 16, Bueckers said, “family camaraderie, loving it here [at UConn], loving my teammates and loving my coaches” is why she decided to stay another season, per USA Today.

“Unfortunately this will not be my last Senior NIght”


Then UConn lost to Iowa in the Final Four on April 5. 

This loss seems to have motivated Bueckers even more. Per an April 11 Instagram post, Bueckers claimed she, “Still got a whole lot left to prove.” 

UConn last won the NCAA Women’s Tournament in 2016. They’ve made it to the Final Four six times since then, but haven’t produced a championship. 

With No. 1 2024 recruit Sarah Strong joining their roster next season, UConn is already considered a 2025 championship favorite

The WNBA will have to wait for Bueckers.

Grant Young covers Major League Baseball and college basketball for His sports coverage has also been featured at FanBuzz and NY Fights. More about Grant Young

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