As one of the most popular sports worldwide, basketball has many leagues around the globe where players and coaches alike can participate and play the sport we all love.
You and I know how rich NBA teams and players are, but have you wondered how much the NBA’s minor league players earn? Are you curious to know how much do G League players make?
It may come as a surprise that people working in the NBA G League can earn quite a good amount of money. The NBA draft usually picks their prospects from the G League.
In this article, I will dive deeper into the salaries paid in the NBA G League per season.
Brief History Of The NBA G League
The National Basketball Association (NBA) G League, previously known as the NBA Development League (D League), is officially known as the NBA’s minor league organization.
The D League would compose only eight teams until previous NBA commissioner, David Stern, expanded the league affiliate to fifteen G League teams.
In 2005, the NBA made an effort to affiliate themselves with at least one NBA D League or G League team. They would then recruit young college players who have the potential to make it to the big league.
Fun Fact: Did you know that by the end of the 2013-2014 NBA season, more than 33% of NBA players have previously played in the D League (now G League)?
In the 2017-2018 NBA season, the D League changed its name to the G League after Gatorade became the title sponsor of the D League, hence the name change.
By the end of the 2020-2021 NBA season, the NBA league, composed of 30 teams, has 28 G League affiliate teams. They are either single-affiliated or owned by an NBA team.
What Is The Standard G League Contract?
In an average six-month NBA G League season, a G League player can earn between $19,500 to $26,000, depending on their team and contract obligations.
The salaries differ based on experience if the player is included in the top basketball leagues abroad or good collegiate schools. They can earn up to seven figures.
There are three letter contracts to indicate the salaries of G league players. They are categorized into A, B, and C contracts.
To illustrate, the A contract pays $25,000, the B contract pays $19,000, while the C contract pays $13,000.
In short, G League players earn around $35,000 per season or $7,000 per month.
The Different NBA G League Salary Scales
The G league salaries depend on the different classes the league operates in. These vary from teams recruiting elite players, benchwarmers, role players, and young college players.
The different salary scales are as follows:
1. Select Players
A G League player under this category is obligated to sign a “select contract,” which can amount to $125,000.
Players under the select contract are always at least 18 years of age and are proven to be elite due to their showcased skills and abilities.
The base pay of the contract usually goes for five months while the basketball season is ongoing. It does not include incentives like call-up compensation.
The contract is aimed at players who do not attend college and want to play for the G League for a season or more instead.
2. Two Way Players
The players under this salary class sign two-way contracts and have a base salary of $125,000.
It is called a two-way contract because the contract includes a prorated portion of the minimum salary in the NBA.
The rate of the prorated portion, back in 2019, summed up to $582,000.
A player’s contract under the two-way category can reach the $582,000 salary range if they stay under the contract for 100 days. Essentially, they will make $5,820 a day.
3. Assignment Players
Assignment players are usually composed of NBA players with at least three years of experience in the NBA. They are sent to the NBA G League-affiliated team for a set period.
The average player in this class is assigned here for the following reasons: rehab, development purposes, disciplinary purposes, or for creating a spot for the organization.
An NBA team that wishes to assign their players to the G League can do so, depending on what the organization needs as of their assignment.
Players under the assignment players class earn their agreed NBA salary.
4. Draft Rights Players
Players under the Draft Rights category are usually below 18 years of age and are under the draft’s rights division. When entering the G League draft, the players have yet to enter the NBA draft.
Once drafted by the G League, players have to stay in the league until the season is over, and the NBA cannot transfer them to the main league until then.
Players under this category have an NBA G League salary of $7,000 monthly, which totals $35,000 in a 5-month season.
As of recently, the salary has increased to $37,000.
5. Affiliate Players
A normal NBA training camp ends in October. During that time, the NBA selects players from different organizations for them to join any minor league team.
The players signed here have the opportunity to advance to leading NBA teams since they are eligible to do so.
The average salary earned in this category can add up to a maximum of $50,000 through various guarantees in the training camp provided by the NBA.
6. In Season Affiliate Players
The major difference between the players belonging to this category and the normal affiliate players is that the NBA team they are under waives them while the NBA season is ongoing.
When a major organization waives a player, they can allocate or classify them in their respective affiliate team.
Organizations have a maximum of four affiliate players at the start of the NBA season.
The catch here is that this only applies to players who have already participated in the NBA training camp.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I am sure that you still have many burning questions about the NBA G League. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.
What Is The Highest G League Salary?
In the 2020-2021 season, the highest-paid player in the G League was Jalen Green, earning a salary of $500,000.
Before joining the G League, Green needed to decide whether to spend a year with a college team or play for the NBA G League Ignite.
During his time in the minor league, he played the shooting guard position for the NBA G League Ignite.
ESPN ranked him as the best shooting guard in the 2020 class and the highest-ranked high school player. This resulted in Jalen Green being drafted by the Houston Rockets in the first round (second overall).
As the top pick of the Rockets, Green will continue to improve and showcase why he was regarded as the best shooting guard in his class and why he had the highest-paid player’s salary in the G League.
What Is the Lowest G League Salary?
The lowest NBA G League salary in the regular season amounts to $7,000 a month.
Effectively, this is the starting salary for many players who join the league as a rookie. The remuneration covers their benefits as well during the five months of play.
Summary Of The NBA G League Salaries
Here is a quick recap of the different salaries and classes the G League operates around to compensate their players per season:
- G League Drafted Players (also known as the Basic Contract): $7,000 monthly, which amounts to an annual salary of $84,000
- Select Players: $125,000 with an additional call-up pay
- Assigned Players: NBA salary or prorated NBA salary depending on their agreed contracts
- Two Way Players: G League Contract either at $7,000 or Select Player Pay with the addition of NBA Two-Player Prorated pay of NBA minimum salary contract
These are only a basis for how the development league pays its players.
The salaries may increase depending on what the player does and how the league manages other business dealings.
Now you know what the average NBA G League salary is. Despite not having the same popularity as the NBA, it is still a challenge to play and compete in this league.
In US basketball, it comes as no surprise that even the minor basketball league players are compensated well. It is mainly due to the NBA’s amazing global following.
A team or a player signed to the NBA G League is supported well and is given opportunities to even play in the NBA if they are eligible.
In summary, the NBA G League provides rookie basketball players enough opportunity to try it out with NBA teams. They can even make more money than some other professional athletes.