Marc Stein of ESPN has reported the new NBA collective bargaining agreement is highly likely to increase the NBADL salary range from $19k-26k to $50k-75k and include a two-way NBADL option for NBA contracts. The two-way contract option would also lead to an expansion of the NBA roster limit from 15 players to 18 players under contract.
As a reminder, the proposed two-way contract option allows for an agreement to keep a player under team control for both NBA call-ups and NBADL assignments.
The two-way contract option benefits the team in being able to keep more signed players within the team’s farm system even when the NBA roster is full. The two-way contract option benefits the player in allowing the player to retain a full NBA salary on NBADL assignments and opens more opportunities for free agents to get signed.
With the NBADL salary jump to at least $50k a year, it makes the NBADL a more attractive destination for free agents and tryout participants. Many players can sign for salaries of at least $60k a year in Europe and China and have the potential to approach $1 million a year if their reputations precede them. However, there are work permits and visa certifications for those overseas-bound players to complete.
For example, Chinese Basketball Association also imposes strict foreign player limits for each of its teams. Earning a wage in the United States while under the watchful eyes of NBA front offices can tip the risk-reward balance in favor of the NBADL. This move could also introduce a risk-reward calculation to previously uninterested prep school seniors.
The increased salaries and two-way contract option have been rumored for CBA inclusion for a decent while. The progression of the rumors to actual number proposals still creates great excitement of the NBADL’s future. Expanding the number of NBADL teams in the league from an already welcome 22 NBA affiliates to a complete 30 would be the next step for the NBADL’s near-future. Hopefully, improved Facebook Live streaming of the NBADL games also soon follows.