Players who sign directly into the NBA’s minor league receive a $35,000 salary (unless they’re an elite high school prospect). If they played in the minor league in the last two seasons, they get placed on their prior team.
In a move that could be the first step toward collectively bargaining, the NBA G League’s players and the National Basketball Players Association are having serious discussions about unionizing, sources told The Athletic.
Among G League players and agents, sources tell The Athletic that the hope with unionizing would be increased salaries for players, freedom of player movement, work benefits, and having a voice on their behalf on issues of discipline and contract structures.
There’s definitely room for minor-league players to improve work conditions. But I wonder whether these gains would be fleeting, at least under this structure.
The NBA is heading toward each of its teams having a minor-league affiliate. Right now, only the Trail Blazers and Nuggets don’t. Once all 30 NBA teams do, expect greater control from those teams – holding exclusive NBA rights of more players on their affiliate, an expanded NBA draft to stock those affiliates. In exchange, minor-league players will likely get higher salaries. It’s the natural progression (thanks in part to the NBA’s player union).
But that does little good for current minor-leaguers, who are trying to accelerate the process of improving work conditions.