Elite high school basketball players who previously would have spent only a single season in college basketball suddenly may have a professional alternative, albeit one that comes a tier below the NBA.
"Without these and other restrictions that link eligibility to compliance with amateurism, a G League player can sign with an agent and negotiate endorsement deals with shoe companies, vehicle dealerships and other third-parties", McCann wrote. Additionally, the National Basketball Association G League will further enhance player experience through existing partner relationships and National Basketball Association player development programming. It improves the G-League brand as an option, it improves the status of elite talent so they are a more household name and makes it more attractive an option going forward. Imagine if just one of them were to sign with the G League?
The organization announced Thursday it will offer "Select Contracts" worth up to $125,000 to top high school prospects who don't want to go down the NCAA's one-and-done route.
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Marc Stein of the New York Times was also skeptical of the move saying that many G-League players describe it as "the toughest league in the world" and that these "elite" prospects would have a target on their back from the older players that have been grinding away for years in their own hopes of making the league.
Though NBA commissioner Adam Silver said it's likely to change, now players have to be out of high school for a year before being eligible for the draft. "We believe this is a thoughtful and responsive answer". Will this venture be open to global players as well, including Canadians or Australians who often matriculate to the NBA via American high schools or college basketball? Said players would then be eligible for the NBA Draft after one season in the G League.
The G League will look to supplement the basketball aspect of this venture with a significant off-court component as well, borrowing from its existing slate of development and educational tools that include life skills, post-career planning and academic scholarship opportunities through partnerships with universities. With the G League's "Select Contracts", they are able to have an agent and dive into the advertising game without being penalized.