The standard NBA G League salary in 2022-2023 was $40,500. Top prospects and players with two-way contracts can earn a lot more ($125k to $500k+).
Have you ever wondered how much NBA G League players make?
Well, I certainly have. In this week’s article, I take a detailed look at G League salaries:
- What’s the average G League salary?
- Is it enough to live on?
- Types of G League Contracts
- Who are the highest paid G League players?
- What about the coaches?
Let’s find out:
Updated July 2023 to reflect latest CBA.
What is the average NBA G League Salary?
The average G League salary for the 2022-2023 season was $40,500 (USD).
This was an increase from the previous season (2021-2022), where the average salary was around $37,000. In 2018, the average salary was $35,000.
So, over the past 5 years, salaries have increased around $5,000. This is partly due to the fact that players formed a union in 2020.
Can you make a living in the G League?
The G League season is actually only around 5 months long. The season starts in November and ends sometime in April (including playoffs). There are 50 games per season.
Thus, an average G League player makes about $8,000 per month, or $800 per game. That sounds pretty good!
While you won’t be getting ridiculously wealthy, you can definitely make a living playing in the G League.
Let’s see how it compares to regular jobs:
How does this compare to other jobs?
For comparison, the average annual salary of every job in the entire USA was around $60,000 in 2022. This works out to about $5,000 per month.
So, the average G League player actually makes more than most jobs on a monthly basis. Since the season is only half a year though, the total salary is less than average.
To put the G League salary into perspective:
- A psychologist has a similar monthly salary of $8,000 per month (annual salary of $96,000).
- An order clerk or inventory clerk makes a similar annual salary of around $40,500 per year.
Other Types of G League Contracts
Some G League players can make more than the basic salary depending on their specific situation or contract.
Here is a breakdown of specific types of G League players / contracts:
- Two way player
- Select player (G League Ignite)
- Affiliate / Exhibit 10 player
- NBA Draft rights player
- Assignment Player
The highest paid G League players have two-way contracts. This special contract means they are signed with an NBA team at the same time as their G League team.
Two-way players usually play most of the season in the G League, and up to a maximum of 50 games for their NBA team. Only players with 3 years or less of NBA experience can sign a two-way contract. The contract can be for one or two years.
Each NBA team is only allowed to have three “Two-Way” contracts.
Two-way players are paid a flat amount, which is equal to half of the minimum of an NBA rookie contract. For the 2023/2024 season, this works out to $508,891.
Select Players (NBA G League Ignite Salary)
Select contracts are offered to elite prospects out of high school who decide to go pro instead of going to college.
Since players are not allowed to go to the NBA straight out of high school (must wait one year), they can instead join the G League and get paid while playing/training with professionals.
Before this option was available, some players would decide to go play overseas instead of college (e.g. Brandon Jennings in 2008; LaMelo Ball in 2018 ).
The G League first announced the “Select Player” contract back in 2018. Unfortunately, no high school prospects decided to join. So, in 2020, the league created a new development team called the “G League Ignite”.
The team gives prospects professional training and mentorship to prepare them for the NBA draft. They also teach other important life skills such as financial literacy.
The Ignite program has been very successful since its inauguration. Many top prospects have joined since like Jaylen Green in 2020, Scoot Henderson in 2021, and London Johnson in 2022.
More recently, the 2024 projected No.1 draft pick Matas Buzelis also signed with the Ignite. Five-star recruit Dink Pate also signed with the Ignite, becoming the youngest professional basketball player in US history.
Select players are paid a base salary of $125,000.
Players can negotiate a higher contract though. For example, Jaylen Green was paid $500,000 for his one year with the Ignite. Scoot Henderson signed a $1 million dollar contract for two years. London Johnson’s contract reportedly exceeds $1 milllion (2 years).
Affiliate / Exhibit 10 Players
Affiliate players are those that were cut/waived during training camp (i.e. before the NBA regular season begins), and designated to the team’s G League affiliate.
If the player decides to stay and sign in the G League, then the NBA team will retain his G League rights. An NBA team can have up to six designated affiliate players.
These players typically sign a contract during training camp with an Exhibit 10 clause .
This entitles the player to a bonus worth from $5,000 to a maximum of $75,000 if he remains on the G League affiliate team for at least 60 days. (i.e. on top of his G League salary)
So, unless the player has a better opportunity overseas, it is usually a good idea to stay on the G League team.
NBA Draft Rights Players
Also known as “Draft and Stash” players. These are players that were drafted by NBA teams, but then signed to a G League contract instead of an NBA one. The team retains the player’s NBA rights (i.e. no other NBA team can sign him).
They receive the standard G League contract (i.e. $40,500). Of course, the player can also decide not to sign and play overseas or somewhere else instead.
Assignment players are those that have NBA contracts, but have been assigned by their NBA team to the G League for various reasons.
For example, the player could be coming back from injury and need conditioning. Or, he is not getting any playing time in the NBA, so the team decides to send him to the G League for some reps.
Assignment players receive whatever their NBA salary is. For example, Klay Thompson still got his $40 million salary when he was in the G League for conditioning.
Highest Paid G League Player
In 2022, London Johnson reportedly signed a record contract with the G League Ignite that exceeded $1 million (over 2 years). London was a 4-star recruit from high school who is expected to enter the 2024 NBA Draft.
This surpasses the previous record of Scoot Henderson, who signed a $1 million contract (2 years) with the Ignite just a year before.
Other than these big name prospects, the highest paid G League players are two-way contract players who received a salary of $508,891 in 2022-2023. Some current notable two-way contract players include Mac McClung (i.e. 2023 NBA Dunk Champ), and Scottie Pippen Jr.
Some former two-way contract players that successfully got full time NBA contracts include Duncan Robinson (Miami Heat), Alex Caruso (Chicago Bulls), and Lu Dort (OKC Thunder).
How much does an NBA G League coach make?
Unfortunately, I can not find any reliable, official public information about the salary of G League coaches.
Glassdoor estimates that minor league baseball coaches make between $74k and $135k per year. Maybe we can assume that G League coaches make something similar.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, college coaches have a median wage of around $50k, with the top 10% making over $80k (2021). We can probably assume that G League coaches make a bit more than average college coaches.
Similar to players, the goal of most G League coaches is to land a job in the NBA. As we know, NBA coaching jobs can be very lucrative.
Some well known NBA coaches that started in the G League include David Joerger, Mike Brown, Quin Snyder, Chris Finch, Darvin Ham, Taylor Jenkins, and Nick Nurse.
NBA G League players have a basic salary of $40,500 (in 2023). Some top prospects, affiliate, and two-way contract players can make a lot more ($100k to $500k+).
It is definitely not even close to the average NBA salary (~$8 million), but is enough to live on. The season is also only 5 months long, so players can try to find a spot overseas or have another job during the off season.
I know that I would not mind playing basketball for $40k. 💰
Let me know in the comments:
What do you think of the G League salaries?
Would you want to play for $40k or try to go overseas?