The NBA G League announces salary raises that will likely entice more players to skip college

Photo courtesy of the NBA G LeagueThe Austin Spurs celebrating winning the G League title.
  • The NBA G League is raising its salaries by a healthy sum.
  • A top NBA prospect also recently announced that he would play in the G League instead of playing college basketball.
  • The league could be growing into a legitimate option for top young basketball players who don’t want to play college basketball.

The NBA G League players will be getting a significant raise next season, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times, a further sign of the league’s growth into a full-fledged minor league.

The league will be raising its base salary $US7,000 per month over the course of the five-month regular season, to $US35,000 a season, in addition to housing and insurance benefits. Previously, G League players earned salaries of either $US19,000 or $US26,000 according to Stein. (Note that this is not referring to NBA players sent down to the G League, or players on two-way contracts).

A raise in minimum player salaries could further incentivise top young basketball prospects to play in the G League after high school basketball rather than the NCAA. Recently Darius Bazley, a projected lottery pick in the 2019 draft, became the first player of his calibre to forgo college basketball in favour of the G League.

The current college sports model, in which players are not compensated beyond scholarships, is under heavy criticism these days. Virtually all top prospects opt to pay college basketball rather than go through the G League, and it’s hard not to see the historically paltry G League salaries as being a significant reason for this.

If the salaries continue to go up, and Bazley goes on to find success at the NBA level, it could push more prospects to opt for the G League and, in time, lead to it becoming a real minor league.

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