The NBA’s G League, which is a transition league where players go to develop, will began offering contracts worth up to 125k for top NBA prospects by the summer of 2019. This is a one small step for the NBA and one giant euro-step for NBA hopefuls.
It is meant to be an alternative to NCAA basketball, which does not offer any official compensation to players. Also, since it’s collegiate basketball, player’s are restricted from signing with any companies for endorsement deals.
Basically, NBA quality players are forced to either play college basketball at least one year for free, as most top player go the one-and-done route.
Another other option would be to go overseas to play ball for a year and get paid, although, that has not been a popular option amongst highly touted recruits.
For prospects to qualify, they have to be at least be 18 years old and not eligible for the NBA Draft.
As currently constructed, the NBA has a rule stating that players have to be at least 19 years old and have graduated at least 12 months ago in order to be eligible for the NBA Draft.
The G League’s alternative will not overthrow that rule, it will just provide a pathway for players to enter the NBA via the Draft, while also getting paid for their basketball services.
Also, because prospect’s will not be considered amateurs, like they would with the NCAA, they are free to sign with an agent and sign endorsement deals as well.
There has been a long debate over whether collegiate player’s should be compensated. The answer to that debate is they should, it’s not fair that the NCAA can collect all the profit off a player, while that player’s family might be struggling to eat.
This is a long overdue change by the NBA. The league has also been actively looking into ways to allow players to enter the NBA Draft straight out of high school.
It wouldn’t be the first time that the NBA has permitted players to jump straight from high school to the pro’s. The last draft class that featured players fresh out of high school was in 2003.
Notable players to be drafted straight out of high school are Kobe Bryant, who was 17 when drafted in 1996 and LeBron James, who has 18 at the time his name was called No. 1 overall during the 2004 NBA Draft.
ESPN’s Johnathon Givony believes that a full on rule change won’t be seen until at least the 2022 NBA season.
The G League’s plan has so far received mixed reviews amongst NBA insiders, such as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and college coaches, the likes of John Calipari, head coach of the University of Kentucky.
As of right now the G Leagues alternative pathway to the NBA will benefit a lot of prospects in the near future. It is most certainly a step in the right direction.