NBA’s G League to offer elite prospects $125K contracts as an alternative to college basketball

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With the current FBI hearings going on about current and former college basketball players receiving “extra benefits” or cash to attend certain schools, reports surfaced today about the NBA’s G League offering $125K contracts to elite American prospects as an alternative to college basketball.

It targets recent or would-be high school graduates who otherwise be a “one-and-done”.  It gives them a six-figure salary and also provides them with an NBA-like foundation as well as development programs.  It is geared towards “facilitating and accelerating their transition into the pro game”.  – League president, Malcolm Turner

This new program provides elite high school prospects, who normally would sign with a college program, fulfilling their NBA draft requirements and allowing them to become draft eligible, a legal way for them to get cash into their hands while giving them a path to become a pro in the NBA’s development system.

Mark Emmert released a statement saying:

“We appreciate the NBA’s effort to provide additional opportunities for those who would like to pursue their dream of playing professionally.  The NCAA recently implemented significant reforms to support student-athlete success, including more flexibility when deciding whether to play professionally.  Obtaining a college education continues to provide unmatched preparation for success in life for the majority of student-athletes and remains an excellent path to professional sports for many.  However, this change provides another option for those who would prefer not to attend college but want to directly pursue professional basketball.” 

This change could have a dangerous impact on college basketball.  If the top prospects coming out of high school choose to take this route instead of playing in college for one year, it basically takes the fun out of it.

I personally don’t think this will work or at least the best players coming out of high school will choose to play in college.  If I were an NBA GM, I would take a player who proved himself against the best players in college over a player who performed well against guys not good enough to be in the NBA.

However, it is still possible that by 2022 the NBA changes the age-limit which would allow players to jump straight to the NBA out of high school, which is the path guys like LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, and Tracy McGrady took.

If that happens, then things will really get interesting.  As coach Cal says, Kentucky will eat first no matter what.

Go cats.

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