G League to offer 1-year paid 'professional path' as alternative to college basketball

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The G League will offer a paid alternative to college basketball for those seeking NBA careers.
The G League will offer a paid alternative to college basketball for those seeking NBA careers.

The NBA’s G League will offer “Select Contracts” as a professional path to the NBA and an alternative to the one-and-done route taken by many elite basketball talents, according to a report in ESPN.

The move will allow for the highest level of high school basketball players to make money and train within an NBA infrastructure in the year before they’re eligible to be drafted. It’s an answer to the call by the Commission on College Basketball to embrace alternative options for “one-and-done” players who attend one year of college basketball, then leave to enter the NBA draft.

How will the G League’s contracts work?

The “professional path” will begin next summer and offer “Select Contracts” worth $125,000 to elite prospects who are at least 18 years old, but not yet eligible for the draft.

Though NBA commissioner Adam Silver said it’s likely to change, currently players have to be out of high school for a year before being eligible for the draft. The current eligibility age is 19 and a new limit likely wouldn’t be implemented until 2021-22.

The G League will target those players who intend to spend one year in college and entice them with not only money but additional benefits, league president Malcolm Turner told ESPN.


 ” … enticing them not only with a six-figure salary but also the opportunity to benefit from NBA infrastructure, as well as a bevy of off-court development programs ‘geared towards facilitating and accelerating their transition to the pro game,'” Turner said.

Players on the path can hire an agent, profit off their likeness and make marketing deals, all of which could bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

They’ll also benefit from access to NBA facilities, player development coaches, training staffs and development and educational tools, such as life skills, post-career planning and academic scholarship opportunities.

Turner said the league will be selective with its players, seeking a “strong emphasis on character and readiness to join a pro league.”

Why is the G League offering Select Contracts?

The offering will essentially take the place of the one-and-done system many take issue with, including those on the Commission on College Basketball. It recommended in April that the NCAA and NBA find other options.

The Select Contracts also solve a problem for the G League, which has been asked to enhance its offerings.

“We believe this is an answer to that call,” Turner told ESPN. “We believe this is a thoughtful and responsive answer.”

Athletes will have only one season on a G League Select Contract. He’ll then be automatically placed in the NBA draft.

There are more details to figure out and concerns to tackle before the season beings in summer 2019, as outlined by ESPN, including if the Select Contract athletes can make an impact, if there will be conflict between them and players who make a $35,000 base salary, and if G League coaching staffs will be invested in developing Select Contract players.

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