Though the NBA effectively prohibited players from entering the league straight out of high school, prospects in the one-and-done era could always enter the NBA’s minor league straight from high school. Only one, Latavious Williams in 2009, has taken that low-paying path.
But the NBA and its minor league will soon offer $125,000 salaries to select players straight out of high school.
Who will take that offer?
Kevin Durant said he wouldn’t have, but he took the traditional collegiate route to Texas. What about someone set on turning pro – like Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay and Thunder guard Terrance Ferguson, who both spent their first year after high school playing overseas before declaring for the NBA draft?
SB: Would you have considered the G League with the new “select contracts” worth $125k?
Ferguson: I still think I would’ve went overseas. It was about basketball, but it was about having financial stability for my family, especially out of high school. And there’s no taxes out of there, so can’t go wrong with that.
(Ferguson declined to share his salary in Australia, but we can confirm it was higher than the G League’s select contracts.)
Mudiay: I still would’ve went to China. $1.2 [million] and 125k is a whole different type of game, if I’mma be real.
Leaders of this new minor-league program indicated only about the top 8-9 recruits annually would get offered the $125,000 salary. Mudiay, No. 2 in the 2014 Recruiting Services Consensus Index, definitely would have gotten offered. I’m not sure Ferguson, No. 12 in 2015, would have.
These new contracts have generated a lot of attention, and somebody will probably take one. Going to college isn’t for everyone. Playing overseas at age 18 isn’t for everyone.
But it just doesn’t seem $125,000 moves the needle enough to really disrupt the system.