In a move that could challenge the NCAA’s monopoly on elite talent, the NBA’s G League is creating a new venture as an alternative to the one-and-done route for the best American basketball prospects, league president Malcolm Turner told ESPN.
As part of a newly formed “professional path” starting in the summer of 2019, the G League will offer “Select Contracts” worth $125,000 to elite prospects who are at least 18 years old but not yet eligible for the NBA draft. It will target recent or would-be high school graduates who otherwise would have likely spent just one season playing college basketball, 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.
Without the restrictions of the NCAA’s amateurism rules, players will also be free to hire agents, profit off their likeness and pursue marketing deals from sneaker companies and the like, which could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in endorsement opportunities to top prospects.
Love that closing line snark.