The good news is that while the NBA players sit on their hands and the NBA owners sit on their piles of money in a silly standoff, the D-League will start up this fall. The NBA’s official developmental league is not locked out.
But don’t think the lockout isn’t hurting the D-League.
The D-League is made up of guys with NBA dreams living on the fringe of making the league. But if there is no league, these same guys are thinking about the larger paychecks in Europe (the average D-League player only makes $25,000 a year, those same guys make three or more times that overseas).
The lockout is draining the D-League’s talent pool.
Scott Schroeder and his blog Ridiculous Upside is one of the best spots to get D-League info, and he breaks it down for us in an email.
“Not only will the majority of last season’s best D-League players be in Europe (7 of the 15 All-D-League team members have signed overseas so far and you can increase that to 11 if you count the NBA guys with non-guaranteed NBA contracts), but there’s little incentive for a new crop of players to return from Europe to play in the D-League this year. Not only would it be a cut in pay ($25,500 maximum), but the biggest incentive to play in the D-League is the chance at an NBA call-up.
“I’ve heard from some agents that they plan to keep their clients around for at least a little while in case the lockout ends soon enough for their player to latch on to an NBA team (considering a lot of the fringe guys will have already signed in Europe, the pickings won’t exactly be abundant for 12th and 13th men), but if the lockout lasts into January, there’s no doubt going to be an exodus of players looking for more lucrative overseas opportunities, leaving the D-League talent pool slimmer than usual.”
I’m with Schroeder’s final sentiment, too. I wish the lockout would end.