G League players are finally getting a raise. The league’s minimum contract has been raised to $35K per season, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. That constitutes a substantial raise over the league’s previous minimum contract, which was either $26K or $19K per season.
The raise will go into effect next season, paying players what amounts to $7K per month during the five-month season. G League players also get housing and insurance benefits in-season.
This pay raise is long overdue.
G League players now have the same minimum contract as 2K League players
When the NBA announced its new NBA 2K League, there was an outcry at the realization that eSports competitors were going to make as much playing video games as actual G League players.
First round picks in the 2K League draft earned a salary of $35K in addition to housing, insurance, and a retirement plan. Players selected after the first round earned $32K per season.
The NBA is investing in eSports during a time when competitive video gaming has never been more popular. With the recent pay raise, it’s also becoming clear now the league is taking the G League seriously, too.
G League players can still earn big bonuses
The NBA introduced two-way contracts last season. Essentially, each NBA team has can sign two players to a two-way contract that can send them between the G League and NBA. Those players earn a base salary of $77K and get a prorated NBA rookie minimum salary depending on the number of days they spend with the big league club.
G League players can also earn a $50K bonus when they go to training camp with an NBA team and then play for their G League affiliate.
With the addition of the Capital City Go-Go, the new affiliate of the Washington Wizards, the G League will have 27 teams next season. The only NBA teams without G League affiliates are the Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans, and Portland Trail Blazers.
It’s about time G League players got a raise
This amounts to a 35 percent raise for players earning $26K last season, or an 84 percent raise for players earning $19K per season. That’s a big deal.
The G League is filled with success stories. Jonathan Simmons once paid $150 to try out for a G League team, before catching on the Spurs and signing a $20 million contract with the Orlando Magic last summer. Chicago Bulls guard David Nwaba has a similar story, and is set to cash in this summer as an NBA free agent.
The best G League success story might be Danny Green, who went from the G League to a key piece on a championship team in San Antonio.
G League basketball is getting better, so is stands to reason the salaries should improve, too. Basketball is a big business. G League need to continue to rise.