It’s a fact that the NBA is the most recognized and sought after place in terms of global basketball. Its such a peak of basketball that even the best players across various European leagues would without any question consider playing on an NBA team even for a minimum contract, just to fulfill a childhood dream. There are very few players that we’d consider we’d love to see play there. To me personally Nando De Colo (former San Antonio Spur, current CSKA Moscow guard) tops this list.There is a whole list of players that we have started to see shift from Europe; such as Ekpe Udoh, Bogdanovic and Teodosic (All players were in the top 10 of USG%, ORTg & NetRTg rankings) to name a few. While commitment of players to teams even in Europe has become that critical. At disappointing choices players make to leave fans just like in the NBA start burning their jerseys. While this article will not deal with the fan aspect it will discuss the fact that the original NBA expansion league (formerly known as the D-League) G-League has become a major attraction for US players that could not make the cut for any of the +420 NBA jobs.
With revisions in the collective bargaining agreement & salary cap a major change in the way the NBA and its partner league is on its way. What this potentially means is increasing player salaries (in the G-League) to a whooping 50% as well as an increase in respective G-League teams. Totalling them and equalling them to the number of NBA teams that they will be associated to.
The above mentioned situation in mind this is a potential outcome that would effect many US players that have been playing overseas to make a living.
Each year FIBA does a work up on migration trends across the globe (which can be accessed here). This report is an indicator of the past year (most recent is of 2016 – the next one will include a more recent insight) in FIBA zones of how players have shifted from one continent to the other. It is overall a visual proving that there is money to be made outside of the NBA. The improvements on the way to the G-League would see a drastic change in this methodology. We already know of the fact that NBA teams currently have the right to hold a 17 players under contract. (min. contracts, two-way contracts, etc…) Options on players increasing also means that the G-League appeal to US players is rising and while we already see players that have competed in Europe shifting to locations like China (E.McCollum, Cory Higgins, T.Honeycutt, Zach Auguste to name a few and all that had high NetRTg all above +120). Now given that the G-League would be looking at exploiting talent we could potentially see players with high PER value such as Macolm Delany. While there currently are 48 import players as mentioned by usabasket.com most of which fall short in terms of efficient players the fact of the matter is that they make good money putting on court performance aside. With recent transfers that have been going on to the G-League it will highly likely mean that we will end up seeing a different type of import players in European competition overall (here is a list of transfers of the G-League).
To me the daunting question of where the quality of players will end up going is undetermined. All I can foresee is that with close to 100 import players currently in the CBA in China, and the added factor that the G-League appeal will have on US players. Europe is becoming like a less appealing place for talent to land. 50,000 USD might be the current average contract in the G-League but with the addition of current sponsorships, changes in the salary structuring and the fact that teams in Europe that no longer can rustle up close to 3-4 mil. USD, within about the next 5-6 years the migration trend will end up skipping a certain quality of player with PER figures of +18 / +22, Ortg figures of +105 / +120.
We’ll all see what will happen as this unfolds in the near future.