Official Start of Training Camp: September 25, 2018
An NBA team is allowed to carry up to 20 players on the roster for training camp and the preseason. This number includes NBA roster players, Two-Way players, and players brought in on training camp/summer contracts. In a perfect world, the training camp roster would look like this:
1-15: NBA Roster Players
16-17: 2 Two-Way Contract Players
18-20: Players on Training Camp/Summer Deals
By the time the NBA regular season begins, the team will need to reduce their roster to 15 NBA players and a maximum of 2 Two-Way players. To do so, they can make the following moves:
1. Waive all players on Training Camp/Summer Deals
This can be up to five players, if a team has no Two-Way players already signed. When the players are waived, an NBA team can choose to designate up to 4 of these players as “affiliate” players with their G-League team. These players will then sign contracts with the G-League and will play for the corresponding G-League affiliate. However, this is only a nominal designation, and any NBA team can call these players up at any time.
The other option is that the players are waived outright. NBA Training Camp/Summer contracts can have a maximum of $50,000 guaranteed in order for players to be eligible to play for the G-League affiliate. The $50,000 is paid by the G-League and does not count against the NBA team’s salary cap.
2. Convert via Exhibit 10
An Exhibit 10 may be included in a training camp/summer contract if and only if it is for a one-year minimum deal with no bonuses. As such, the Exhibit 10 allows for the contract to be converted to a Two-Way deal before the start of the season. A team may convert two such contracts at once, so long as they have two available Two-Way spots.
The Pelicans, Trail Blazers, and Nuggets cannot offer an Exhibit 10 because they do not have their own G-League affiliate.
3. Sign an NBA Contract
If an NBA team has fewer than 15 NBA players on the roster for training camp, then they can sign any of their training camp players to a minimum contract (or more if they choose and have room). If a player makes the 15 man NBA roster, he is eligible to be assigned to the G-League affiliate at any point during the season so long as he has 3 years of service or fewer in the NBA.
By the end of training camp, an NBA team can have up to 15 roster players and 2 Two-Way players for a total of 17 on the roster. Of course, they do not have to fill these spots. An NBA team must carry a minimum of 12 players on the roster or face roster charges.
Key Dates (per NBA.com):
September 21 -- First allowable date for players participating in preseason NBA Global Games to report to their teams (no earlier than 11 a.m. local time)
September 22 -- Training Camps open for all teams participating in preseason NBA Global Games
September 24 -- First allowable date for all other veteran players to report to their teams (no earlier than 11 a.m. local time)
September 25 -- Training Camps open for all other teams
September 28 -- NBA Preseason games begin
One storyline to watch for the 2018-2019 G-League season is that of Darius Bazley. The 6’8”, 195-pound Power Forward out of Cincinnati, OH is ranked 13th in the class of 2018 per ESPN. A 2018 McDonald’s All-American, Bazley chose to forgo his pledge to Syracuse in favor of going straight into the NBA G-League. He is the first big-time recruit and McDonald’s All-American to do so. Of course, NBA scouts will closely monitor this story, as Bazley is considered a first round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Per G-League rules, Bazley is allowed to go straight from high school to the G-League because he is 18 years old. He would need to be 19, or turning 19 in 2018, to have declared for the 2018 NBA draft. Bazley will become a contracted player of the G-League at $35,000, playing on a one-year contract. He will be eligible for the 2018 G-League draft, and he will likely appear at or near the top of the draft.
Because Bazley did not declare for the 2018 NBA Draft in advance of the 2018-2019 G-League/NBA season, he is ineligible for an NBA call up. This rule is in place to ensure that high school don’t use the G-League to directly by-pass the 19-year-old age limit for the NBA draft. As such, Bazley will play all 50 regular season games in the G-League (or as many as his health/team allows).
This is an interesting trend to keep an eye on, as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBAPA have discussed lowering the NBA Draft age back down to 18. If that is the case, high school seniors will be able to declare for the NBA Draft upon graduation. Also, the league may need to reconsider the 18-year-old G-League draft rule, as high school players who go undrafted would be able to enter the G-League and earn immediate call-ups to the NBA. These players would be heavily discounted versus a 1st or 2nd Round pick salary.
Bazley wrote about his decision in depth on the Players Tribune:
“In the G League every day, I’m going to be competing with and against NBA talent. I’m going to learn NBA schemes, adopt an NBA practice schedule and generally be in an environment where the main focus of everyone I’m around is competing at an NBA level.” - Darius Bazley
I had a chance to watch Bazley take on New Albany Bulldogs and Romeo Langford this past season. It’s hard to categorize Bazley, as he is a wiry-forward who can handle for his size. He won’t be given full-time point guard responsibilities, but he can start an offensive set off the bounce or the pass. He sees the court well in transition, and rebounds well because of his athleticism. In his offensive arsenal is a variety of pull ups and soft finishes at the rim, but he does need to improve as a shooter. Defensively, he is disruptive because of his length and athleticism, but he needs to add strength as he was bullied around by bigger post players. It should be fascinating to watch his young, developing game in the G-League, as he will face grizzled professional basketball players, many of whom have long vied for the coveted NBA spot many believe he will earn.
The G-League is the official minor league of the NBA. It is used to find and develop basketball players, coaches, medical staff, and front office personnel.
2017-2018 Champions: Austin Spurs
The NBA Developmental League had its inaugural season in 2001-2002, and it is entering its 18th season. This past year, the League added an official title sponsor, Gatorade, and rebranded as the G-League. In addition, with the NBA’s agreement with Nike, the G-League also became sponsored by Nike.
The G-League currently has 27 teams, with the Capital City Go-Go joining for the 2018-2019 season. Only Portland, Denver, and New Orleans remain with out a G-League team. Twenty-one NBA teams fully own and operate their G-League team, while five only run the front office side: Celtics, Heat, Mavericks, Pistons, and Rockets. Each team plays a 50 game schedule, running from the middle of October until toward the end of March. The G-League is set to begin shortly after the NBA rosters are set for opening day at 15 players, with players being cut from the preseason roster often joining the G-League for that season. At the end of the 2018 NBA season, 53% of players on the NBA rosters had G-League experience.
Currently, 12 teams make the G-League playoffs: the six division winners and the three teams from each conference with the highest winning percentage outside of the division winners. The top two seeds from each division get a first round bye. It is single elimination each round until the Finals, where the winner is determined in a three game series.
Who is eligible for the G-League?
Players must be 18 years old to enter the G-League. Per the NBA CBA, players must be turning 19 in the calendar year of the NBA Draft for them to declare, so the G-League welcomes younger players. Players who have three years of service in the NBA or fewer are eligible for assignment to a G-League team, while players with four years of service or fewer are eligible to sign Two-Way contracts.
Teams must carry a minimum of 10 players on their roster, with a max of 13 players including players assigned from the parent NBA teams. For any player not on NBA assignment or Two-Way, a standard contract is signed with the NBA G-League. These contracts pay $7,000 a month for the 5-month season, for a total of $35,000 not including bonuses. They are for one year terms.
Two-Way players make a base of $75,000 while in the G-League, pro-rated for the number of days in the G-League. In addition, they make the rookie minimum salary ($838,464 in 2018-2019) pro-rated for up to 45/170 days in the NBA. They hold a maximum earning potential of $385,000.
Paths to the G-League
There are nine ways to enter the NBA G-League.
Each year, the NBA G-League implements a set of experimental rules that the NBA is testing out for implementation. The rules for 2018-2019 have yet to be announced.
Played during NBA All Start Weekend, the G-League hosts an All-Star Game. Players are voted on by the G-League coaches.
During the first week of January, the NBA permits 10-day contracts to be signed. This is often when G-League players start to receive NBA call ups. NBA roster players on assignment and Two-Way players may travel back and forth between the teams before this.
Around the end of the second week of January, Two-Way contracts become guaranteed. Immediately before this, the G-League hosts a Showcase event in front of NBA personnel. Many Two-Way contracts are handed out after this event.
More G-League Information: https://gleague.nba.com/faq/