On late Tuesday morning, New York Times’ Marc Stein was the first to report that the NBA were expected to increase salaries for all G League players to $35,000 for the year or $7,000 per month during the season. That’s a 53% increase over the prior salaries that G Leaguers earned during the 2017-18 season, as contracts were split into two separate tiers: A-Level: $26,000 and B-Level: $19,500.
In addition to that improved G League salary, prospects can obviously earn additional money if they’re affiliate players or get called-up to an NBA. For affiliate players that are signed, they have an opportunity to make up to $85,000 for a season, if you don’t factor in that prospect getting called-up or earning a two-way deal.
That’s the case if you add the base G League salary with what they make as a member of an NBA team’s training camp roster, where they’re allowed to earn a maximum of $50,000 before they are able to play with that squad’s minor-league affiliate. According to the NBA G League, the average player gets $44,000 in affiliate bonuses If a G Leaguer gets called up on a 10-day day, they’d get paid a decent amount of money depending on how many years of NBA experience they may have. This February piece by Hoops Rumors goes more in depth about 10-day contracts.
In addition to the improved salaries for base G Leaguers, prospects on two-way deals will get a little increase in pay as they’ll receive $77,250 in the G League. If you factor in days of NBA service, those two-way players can earn a maximum of $385,000 during the 2018-19 season. During its first season in existence in the NBA, 83 players across all 30 NBA squads signed two-way contracts. Warriors guard Quinn Cook and Clippers guard C.J. Williams were probably the biggest beneficiaries of the two-way deal as they finished the regular season as significant parts of those NBA teams’ rotation.
Within the same press release where they announced the improved salaries, the G League also stated some pretty interesting facts. For one, a record 53% of players on 2017-18 NBA end-of-season rosters spent time in the G League during their careers. In addition, every NBA squad had at least six NBA G League alums on their end-of-season rosters, which included seven that had 10 or more players.
Another record that was set during the G League season was 101 NBA players that were assigned to the NBA G League for either development or rehab purposes. That includes 13 prospects that were selected in the 1st round of the 2017 NBA Draft.
As those facts and figures can tell you, the G League has rapidly grown in importance to both NBA organizations and players that are trying to turn their hoop dream into a reality. Lucky enough for players that work their asses off from training camp until the post-season, they’ll actually be somewhat properly compensated for all the time and energy that they put in on a night-by-night basis.
In addition to the $36,000 that they’ll get during the season, they’ll also receive in-season housing, travel day per diem and health insurance benefits. Also, with their recent partnership with Arizona State, G Leaguers have an opportunity to grow themselves from both an educational and life skills perspective. That last part is extremely important if more young players like Darius Bazley make the leap from high school straight to the G League.
For the first time in league history, G Leaguers could actually get paid a contract that’s significantly above the actual minimum wage in the United States, which was kind of an issue just a few years ago.
Whether this was something that has been in the works for a while or just a reaction to the backlash that came when folks realized that 2k League players got paid more than G Leaguers, we might not ever now. No matter what led to this change taking place, I think its more than clear that this move is a great step in the right direction for an NBA G League that continues to grow by leaps and bounds every single year.