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NBA makes potential game-changing move for G-League

This is a big change for potential one and dones in college basketball.

A Sea of Blue

The NBA just made a big change to its G-League, which could affect one and dones in college basketball.

According to ESPN, the G-League is getting a salary boost to $125,000 for “elite prospects” that are at least 18 years of age but not yet eligible for the NBA Draft.

That’s a big bump up from the original $35,000 base salary for a five-month season, though there are bonuses, NBA call-ups, two-way deals and Exhibit 10 contracts providing paths to earning more.

Still, most of those won’t be available to high school prospects who are 18 and want to skip college altogether.

Here is an excerpt of the ESPN report:

It will target recent or would-be high school graduates who otherwise would have likely spent just one season playing college basketball, enticing them not only with a six-figure salary but also the opportunity to benefit from NBA infrastructure, as well as a bevy of off-court development programs “geared towards facilitating and accelerating their transition to the pro game,” Turner said.

Without the restrictions of the NCAA’s amateurism rules, players will also be free to hire agents, profit off their likeness and pursue marketing deals from sneaker companies and the like, which could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in endorsement opportunities to top prospects.

This is big, as it means players can make six figures straight out of high school in addition to potential endorsement deals. You have to think guys like Andrew Wiggins, Ben Simmons, Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, James Wiseman, Vernon Carey and Cole Anthony would be making a lot of money in endorsements in addition to that $125K.

My guess is this new rule will lead to a couple of guys skipping college each year going forward, but I doubt it leads to a wealth of high school stars skipping college for a year in the G-League.

It will be interesting to see if this changes anything for John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats, who are annually in the running for those true elite prospects that this is meant for. I don’t think it will affect them in the 2019 class, but it will be something to monitor come next summer when it’s time to decide on if they’ll make it to college or head to the pros.