The NBA G League is creating a new “professional path” for NBA prospects as an alternative to the one-and-done route in college basketball, reports ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
Starting in 2019, the G League will offer “select contracts” worth $125K to top prospects who are at least 18 years old but aren’t yet eligible for the NBA draft, league president Malcolm Turner tells Givony. The standard NBAGL salary is $35K.
Rather than spending one year in a college program before making the leap to the NBA, those prospects would get a chance to earn a six-figure salary, spend a season within the NBA’s infrastructure, and participate in off-court development programs “geared towards facilitating and accelerating their transition to the pro game,” per Tucker.
The NBA’s one-and-done rule may be adjusted in future years, eliminating the need for elite high school prospects to spend a year in college or elsewhere before becoming draft-eligible. However, that’s not expected to happen until the 2022 draft, at the earliest, so the G League hopes to offer a viable alternative in the meantime.
Without the NCAA’s rules in effect, standout prospects who go the NBAGL route would be eligible for shoe deals and other promotional and marketing opportunities, in addition to earning a $125K salary on a select contract.
According to Turner, the G League won’t pursue top prospects who have already committed to colleges, though the select contract route will be an option for players who decommit from programs. The NBAGL president also tells Givony that the league will be selective about which prospects it targets, focusing on high-character players who are ready to make the jump to professional ball.
Several details will still need to be worked out, including how these players are assigned to specific G League teams and whether this opportunity will also be open to international prospects.
Turner is optimistic about the possibilities and several agents share his enthusiasm, according to Givony (Twitter link). However, Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com (Twitter link) questions whether the $125K salary is high enough to make it worthwhile for elite prospects. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski notes (via Twitter) that the G League lifestyle isn’t a glamorous one, so if a player prioritizes packed arenas and private jets, the NCAA path may still be the better option. “You’ll get paid there too,” Wojnarowski adds.