Auburn Basketball: 2019 draftee Chuma Okeke signs with Orlando Magic

Auburn Basketball Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn Basketball Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Auburn basketball star and 2019 NBA Draft first-round pick Chuma Okeke finally signed his rookie contract with the Orlando Magic yesterday.

In one of the weirder headlines in both the NBA and NCAA’s early November offseason–something that hasn’t been seen in nine years–2019 NBA Draft pick and former Auburn basketball star Chuma Okeke has signed his rookie deal.

Ya know, a year and a half after getting drafted. Two days before the 2020 NBA Draft.


Of course, Okeke tore his ACL during the Sweet 16 in a victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels, wiping away what would have been his entire rookie year. Nevertheless, he could still end up becoming an impact player for the Orlando Magic.

At the very least, he has the backing of the organization:

"“We are thrilled to welcome Chuma to the team,” said Jeff Weltman, the Magic’s president of basketball operations, in a statement released by the team on Monday afternoon. “He’s demonstrated all the characteristics that we had seen in him when we drafted him, and we look forward to him starting his career with us.”Okeke became the first Auburn player picked in the first round of the NBA Draft since the Denver Nuggets used the 26th selection on Mamadou N’Diaye in 2000."

Thankfully enough, it sounds as though Okeke is healthy and ready to ramp up activity to eventually make his NBA debut:

"“Chuma has just been a robot,” Weltman said about Okeke’s rehabilitation while speaking during his pre-draft press conference on Monday morning. “He’s been a machine and working his tail off.”"

Okeke may have cost himself some money waiting so long to sign his rookie-scale deal, but it sounds like getting on the court is more important than what amounts to chump change for the first-round pick.

His deal includes team options for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons and is worth $15 million over the next four years.

Next. Trey Alexander commits to Auburn. dark