Salaries in the NBA D-League have long been a lightning rod for debate and discussion. There are definite benefits of a player staying on the NBA’s doorstep by playing in the NBA, but the lack of compensation leads a lot of top players to head overseas for bigger paydays as well.
For the past couple seasons the salary structure in place has consisted of tiers. There were three tiers of salaries: $13,000 (C), $19,000 (B) and $25,500 (A) and each team had a salary cap of $173,000 on top of that.
A league source has told Upside & Motor the structure will be altered for the 2016/17 season. Now there will only be two tiers for salaries as the “C” has been eliminated. The new salary levels will be $19,500 (B-Level) and $26,000 (A-Level) and the salary cap will rise to $209,000 also.
Not quite the astronomical jump the NBA has seen this offseason, however it does raise the overall pay each team can dole out on the season. NBA commissioner Adam Silver and D-League commissioner Malcolm Turner have been working in conjunction to build to the league to 30 teams and when that point comes, there is a belief that salaries could be tripled to remain competitive.
The opportunity cost a player has to consider when signing with the D-League is the fact that they could be in Westchester on Tuesday night and playing for the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night. That’s not a reality for players who head overseas, and that’s the reason top talent will remain stateside to chase their NBA dream. D-League call ups made nearly $5 million in salary last season so the chance for a payoff is present.
This isn’t the huge change fans, players and agents were hoping for, but it’s a step in the right direction.