G League to offer $125K contracts to elite prospects as NCAA alternative

Ross Houston
October 21, 2018

The Select Contracts are merely the latest move in an ongoing effort by the G League to make their roster spots more attractive - read: more profitable - and improve the status of the league while also offering younger players now prohibited from the joining the NBA until they turn 19 a path outside of college basketball.

"The broader basketball community has called for the NBA to enhance our G League offerings", G-League President Malcolm Turner told ESPN.

The G League is very much the minor leagues, full of early-connecting flights, long bus rides and small gyms, while big-time colleges are still afforded the luxuries of private jets and full fervent crowds.

The G League, in a Thursday release, is claiming that these new contracts are merely their answer to the calls for better development for players who might one day become factors in the National Basketball Association.

The G-League has created a new "professional path" for players who aim to play in the National Basketball Association and skip the "one-and-done" process of playing in college.

The coach came out against the G League proposal even before it was announced, saying at SEC Basketball Media Days in Birmingham on Wednesday he could read the tea leaves. A scholarship's value is nowhere near the real value of a college player, especially for elite prospects, but there's a non-monetary value of being a legitimate star in the NCAA and becoming the face of a major college program.

While changes to the NBA's age limit likely won't be implemented until the 2022 draft, the league considers this an immediate response. "However, this change provides another option for those who would prefer not to attend college but want to directly pursue professional basketball". "We believe this is an answer to that call".

These are questions that Turner says will be answered in the near future with the help of a soon-to-be-hired dedicated program manager who will oversee the G League professional path, as well as a working committee that will tackle many of these tasks.

The G League initiative will allow athletes to hire agents, make money off their own likeness, participate in ad campaigns, and other marketing efforts that are otherwise banned in the NCAA.

The NBA's G League will soon offer an alternative choice to playing college basketball for elite prospects that could threaten to significantly decrease the existence of the one-and-done player.

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