The life of a D-Leaguer is tough, with commercial flying, long bus trips, but the payoff can be huge if you are one of a few who get a call-up to the NBA. The D-League can be very rewarding but the salary perhaps is not, as salaries either are 19 500 or 26 000, not the most money to be playing professional basketball. Definitely something that can keep players away or not stay in the league for long.
I had the chance to speak to one former D-League player, and a player who wants to play in the D-League but maybe the salary is pushing him overseas. Those players being Keanau Post who played last season with the 905,and Terrence Joyner who has yet to play in the D-League and is in Saudi Arabia, but wants to play in the D-League if he fails to make the NBA.
Both players have had different ways, as Post was a local tryout player last year with the 905, and Joyner has been overseas since going undrafted in 2012.
I asked them both the same questions and here is what they had to say.
Ridiculous Upside: If D-League salaries were higher, would that make more players (including yourself) stay longer?
Post: “Yes, but I also feel that’s fair to say with any league. If there is an opportunity out there to make more money and a need for you (player), then you have to consider it. More times than not you’re going to take it. A lot of players that are young and just starting money is important in establishing a comfortable base.”
Joyner: “Yeah it definitely would, because I would be able to provide for my family, be close to my daughter. As well as give myself the best chance to make the NBA during the year due to how many opportunities opened up because of injuries in the NBA. The Mavs for example have had a lot of injuries in their back court this year, and that opened many opportunities for guys playing in the D-League.”
RU: “Why do you think D-League salaries can’t come close to what people make in Europe or overseas?”
Joyner: “I think with the new NBA deal, D-League players should definitely make more money. It is the best league out there besides the NBA and EuroLeague, and they get paid tons. So I feel D-League players deserve a good salary.”
Post: “I think in time they will. I think it just comes down to developing the league and gaining popularity, while maintaining the culture of the D-League. I feel the current culture is viewed as a foot in the door. By that I mean the opportunity out weighs the salary by having it that way you get players who are committed to making to the NBA as well you get a good rotation of players in and out every year.”
RU: “The D-League gives you the best chance to reach the NBA but is the salary worth it?”
Post: “In my opinion yes, it gives you the best chance of making it to the NBA overall. I think ultimately comes down to the player in regards to opportunity vs. salary. Some players are good financially leaving college and are able to work with a low salary for a or two and some aren’t.”
Joyner: “It depends on what your situation is. Some players in the D-League have played in the NBA and got drafted, so that always gives them a better chance to get a call up. As compared to a guy who have never gotten an NBA training camp offer, so it may not be worth it. It all depends on the players situation.”
As we stand, the NBA D-League is obviously the best avenue for players that have NBA aspirations. However, the NBADL needs to continue increasing their salary to either retain a player like Post in the D-League and bring a player like Joyner in rather than having him spend his career overseas.