The Select Contracts are merely the latest move in an ongoing effort by the G League to make their roster spots more attractive - read: more profitable - and improve the status of the league while also offering younger players now prohibited from the joining the NBA until they turn 19 a path outside of college basketball.
In April, the Commission on College Basketball recommended that the NCAA and NBA embrace alternative options for one-and-done caliber prospects. "We believe this is a thoughtful and responsive answer".
The prospects who are eligible for these six-figure contracts will be determined by a newly formed group of G League officials who will identify which elite players are eligible for the max contracts. The G League said Thursday that it is establishing a working group to develop that process and other criteria, and that there will be no cap on how many players could be signed to a select deal.
The G League has allowed 18-year-old players in the past, but never before under any elite designation. Beyond that, the only requirement is that a player must be 18 by September 15 of the season they would play and, in the case of prospects older than 18, can not have gone through an NBA Draft in the past.
Earlier this year, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James called the NCAA model "corrupt" and said he would suggest to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver a plan to expand the G League and turn it into more of a farm system with an eye on truly preparing young talent for the NBA.
NBA G League Select Contracts are designed for year-round professional growth and will include opportunities for basketball development, life skills mentorship and academic scholarship. Regular G League players $35,000 as a base salary for a five-month season, with bonuses, National Basketball Association call-ups, two-way deals and Exhibit 10 contracts providing paths to earning more.
Given the significant difference in physical maturity and experience, G League Select prospects could be risking their draft stock while their peers face NCAA competition.
G League officials are still considering how to address these concerns, with room for flexibility both before the program officially launches and once it is running. Givony reports that the league will "target recent or would-be high school graduates who otherwise would have likely spent just one season playing college basketball".