The NBA’s minor league, the G League, has unveiled its answer to college basketball’s monopoly on straight-out-of-high-school talent.
Today, the G League announced it will have select contracts available beginning with the 2019-20 season for prospects not yet eligible to play in the NBA.
The contracts, for players at least 18 years old, will pay $125,000, significantly above the standard $35,000 player contracts. In other words, the G League will compete for the so-called "one-and-done" players who play college basketball for a season before going into the NBA draft.
“Select Contracts are an answer to the basketball community’s call for additional development options for elite players before they are eligible for the NBA,” G League president Malcolm Turner said in a news release. “The supporting infrastructure surrounding these newly-created select contracts is designed to provide a rich offering of basketball and life skills developmental tools for top young players to grow along their professional paths from high school to the pros.”
Mad Ants general manager Brian Levy declined to comment. The Mad Ants open training camp Monday.
The select contracts are designed for “year-round professional growth and will include opportunities for basketball development, life skills mentorship and academic scholarship,” the NBA wrote, adding: “These offerings are slated to include basketball workouts during the summer months through existing NBA infrastructure like NBA Summer League and NBA Academies, year-round education programs designed to increase players’ ability to personally and professionally manage their careers, and a scholarship program for athletes who want to pursue higher education after their playing days.”
There will be no maximum age for a player to be eligible for a select contract, but they won’t be available for players who have gone through an NBA draft.
What’s unclear is how players on select contracts will be integrated into the G League teams owned and operated by NBA teams – the Mad Ants are the Indiana Pacers’ team – when those youngsters aren’t property of any NBA team and may not be ready for regular playing time against seasoned professionals.