NBA G League: The Beginning of the End?

 
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adkindo
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 6:57 am    Post subject: NBA G League: The Beginning of the End?

Shams is reporting that the G League players are discussing unionization.

Quote:
In a move that could be the first step toward collectively bargaining, the NBA G League’s players and the National Basketball Players Association are having serious discussions about unionizing, sources told The Athletic.


The question is what leverage would the GLeague have to collective bargain? My understanding is it is not currently a profitable operation, so why would the NBA push deeper in to the red instead of just folding the operation?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 8:53 am    Post subject:

I don't see what is the issue with them unionizing. I don't think "profits" per se are the driving factor here as they are basically subsidiaries of teams and a talent farm system. In fact, if the GLeague is a more robust system b/c of better pay, benefits, exposure, I'm for it.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:14 am    Post subject:

yinoma2001 wrote:
I don't see what is the issue with them unionizing. I don't think "profits" per se are the driving factor here as they are basically subsidiaries of teams and a talent farm system. In fact, if the GLeague is a more robust system b/c of better pay, benefits, exposure, I'm for it.


unless something I am missing, you must have leverage to collective bargain. Take a steel factory for example...ownership/management need labor to operate, and the sole reason to operate is to make a profit. The workers have leverage because they are the labor and the only path to operation and profit. Hence it is worth the headache for management/ownership to negotiate because less profit is better than no profit if the factory is not operating, but still incurring some fixed costs.

Over to the G League....why would the owners negotiate instead of simply folding the league? I am not sure the GLeague has really been very beneficial for the NBA and has mostly been an additional cost reducing profits. It feels like the conversation is likely to go like this....

G League Players: "We want more salary and healthcare"
NBA Owners: "No"
G League Players: "There will be a work stoppage"
NBA Owners: "Ok"

If that continued for any amount of time, why not just fold the league.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:16 am    Post subject:

adkindo wrote:
yinoma2001 wrote:
I don't see what is the issue with them unionizing. I don't think "profits" per se are the driving factor here as they are basically subsidiaries of teams and a talent farm system. In fact, if the GLeague is a more robust system b/c of better pay, benefits, exposure, I'm for it.


unless something I am missing, you must have leverage to collective bargain. Take a steel factory for example...ownership/management need labor to operate, and the sole reason to operate is to make a profit. The workers have leverage because they are the labor and the only path to operation and profit. Hence it is worth the headache for management/ownership to negotiate because less profit is better than no profit if the factory is not operating, but still incurring some fixed costs.

Over to the G League....why would the owners negotiate instead of simply folding the league? I am not sure the GLeague has really been very beneficial for the NBA and has mostly been an additional cost reducing profits. It feels like the conversation is likely to go like this....

G League Players: "We want more salary and healthcare"
NBA Owners: "No"
G League Players: "There will be a work stoppage"
NBA Owners: "Ok"

If that continued for any amount of time, why not just fold the league.


If they fold the league then what is their minor league/farm system?

All b/c the players want to collectively bargain certain terms of their job? I don't think they can come out and ask for 500k a year, but they can negotiate other things.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:39 pm    Post subject:

adkindo wrote:
yinoma2001 wrote:
I don't see what is the issue with them unionizing. I don't think "profits" per se are the driving factor here as they are basically subsidiaries of teams and a talent farm system. In fact, if the GLeague is a more robust system b/c of better pay, benefits, exposure, I'm for it.


unless something I am missing, you must have leverage to collective bargain. Take a steel factory for example...ownership/management need labor to operate, and the sole reason to operate is to make a profit. The workers have leverage because they are the labor and the only path to operation and profit. Hence it is worth the headache for management/ownership to negotiate because less profit is better than no profit if the factory is not operating, but still incurring some fixed costs.

Over to the G League....why would the owners negotiate instead of simply folding the league? I am not sure the GLeague has really been very beneficial for the NBA and has mostly been an additional cost reducing profits. It feels like the conversation is likely to go like this....

G League Players: "We want more salary and healthcare"
NBA Owners: "No"
G League Players: "There will be a work stoppage"
NBA Owners: "Ok"

If that continued for any amount of time, why not just fold the league.


Plenty of teams have benefited from having easy access to near-NBA level players, including the Lakers. I'm sure owners would give them cheap things (for them) like cost-of-living raises and benefits if it means they stay close to home.

Plus, if the labor of the USA's second best professional league is de-valued to the extent that you'd fold it at the very hint at a bargaining agreement, what does that say about the job security of the USA's best professional league? Hence why the NBA Player's Association would be interested in supporting the all these 15th-20th man types. More leverage for B class players means more leverage for A class players.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:54 pm    Post subject:

adkindo wrote:
yinoma2001 wrote:
I don't see what is the issue with them unionizing. I don't think "profits" per se are the driving factor here as they are basically subsidiaries of teams and a talent farm system. In fact, if the GLeague is a more robust system b/c of better pay, benefits, exposure, I'm for it.


unless something I am missing, you must have leverage to collective bargain. Take a steel factory for example...ownership/management need labor to operate, and the sole reason to operate is to make a profit. The workers have leverage because they are the labor and the only path to operation and profit. Hence it is worth the headache for management/ownership to negotiate because less profit is better than no profit if the factory is not operating, but still incurring some fixed costs.

Over to the G League....why would the owners negotiate instead of simply folding the league? I am not sure the GLeague has really been very beneficial for the NBA and has mostly been an additional cost reducing profits. It feels like the conversation is likely to go like this....

G League Players: "We want more salary and healthcare"
NBA Owners: "No"
G League Players: "There will be a work stoppage"
NBA Owners: "Ok"

If that continued for any amount of time, why not just fold the league.


You underestimate the strategic value the NBA places on the g league. They are expanding it so each of the 30 NBA teams has their own franchise. They aren't going to fold the league simply because the players unionize and they have to collectively bargain with them.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:56 pm    Post subject:

yinoma2001 wrote:
adkindo wrote:
yinoma2001 wrote:
I don't see what is the issue with them unionizing. I don't think "profits" per se are the driving factor here as they are basically subsidiaries of teams and a talent farm system. In fact, if the GLeague is a more robust system b/c of better pay, benefits, exposure, I'm for it.


unless something I am missing, you must have leverage to collective bargain. Take a steel factory for example...ownership/management need labor to operate, and the sole reason to operate is to make a profit. The workers have leverage because they are the labor and the only path to operation and profit. Hence it is worth the headache for management/ownership to negotiate because less profit is better than no profit if the factory is not operating, but still incurring some fixed costs.

Over to the G League....why would the owners negotiate instead of simply folding the league? I am not sure the GLeague has really been very beneficial for the NBA and has mostly been an additional cost reducing profits. It feels like the conversation is likely to go like this....

G League Players: "We want more salary and healthcare"
NBA Owners: "No"
G League Players: "There will be a work stoppage"
NBA Owners: "Ok"

If that continued for any amount of time, why not just fold the league.


If they fold the league then what is their minor league/farm system?

All b/c the players want to collectively bargain certain terms of their job? I don't think they can come out and ask for 500k a year, but they can negotiate other things.


What hurts the G-League position is that they have never really graduated a large number of players into the NBA. So unless the G-League players get the NBAPA to represent them I think they are in a terrible position.
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lakersken80
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:00 pm    Post subject: Re: NBA G League: The Beginning of the End?

adkindo wrote:
Shams is reporting that the G League players are discussing unionization.

Quote:
In a move that could be the first step toward collectively bargaining, the NBA G League’s players and the National Basketball Players Association are having serious discussions about unionizing, sources told The Athletic.


The question is what leverage would the GLeague have to collective bargain? My understanding is it is not currently a profitable operation, so why would the NBA push deeper in to the red instead of just folding the operation?


This happened with the WNBA. I know the NBA still funds the league but a lot of the NBA owners they originally partnered with have pretty much cut ties with the teams they used to be associated with because it wasn't a league that made money.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:23 pm    Post subject: Re: NBA G League: The Beginning of the End?

lakersken80 wrote:
adkindo wrote:
Shams is reporting that the G League players are discussing unionization.

Quote:
In a move that could be the first step toward collectively bargaining, the NBA G League’s players and the National Basketball Players Association are having serious discussions about unionizing, sources told The Athletic.


The question is what leverage would the GLeague have to collective bargain? My understanding is it is not currently a profitable operation, so why would the NBA push deeper in to the red instead of just folding the operation?


This happened with the WNBA. I know the NBA still funds the league but a lot of the NBA owners they originally partnered with have pretty much cut ties with the teams they used to be associated with because it wasn't a league that made money.


They are very different situations. Women's basketball isn't popular. The WNBA has no upside and no value beyond a little bit of PR.

The g league is important to the NBA as a development tool, especially with the prospect of more players bypassing college. It has the potential to support the core business of the league, while the WNBA will always be ancillary to the league.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2019 5:00 pm    Post subject:

I’m not sure why you assume that unionizing would be a problem for the G League.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2019 6:25 pm    Post subject:

Aeneas Hunter wrote:
I’m not sure why you assume that unionizing would be a problem for the G League.


As I stated above....I do not see the G League as having the leverage required to collective bargain. Don't get me wrong, for years I have advocated the NBA and players to invest more in the G League to the point where G League guys could actually afford a cheap apartment and transportation to allow them to focus on developing their game, but until now the NBA has not shown interest in truly investing in the league. Someone pointed out above the G League is important to the NBA in developing players, but that does not appear to be true. Very few players have graduated from the G League into a multi year NBA contract. Caruso is one of the very best and few G League success stories.

Also, is there not a conflict with the NBAPA representing the G League? I do not see how their goals align. In fact the NBAPA has always refused to give the G League a penny of their BRI portion, which has been one reason little has been invested. It would the NBAPA will be conflicted when they are negotiating a % of BRI for the G League.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:42 pm    Post subject:

Labor law doesn't work quite like that. I don't want to get nitpicky, because I doubt that you or anyone else here really cares about the nuances of the law. Leaving out the more boring details, the G League players would be a separate bargaining unit from the NBA players. The GLPA (or whatever it gets called) could be affiliated with the NBPA, but presumably they would negotiate their own CBA and have their own representation and leadership. It might be possible to do it on a consolidated basis, but it would be a nightmare for reasons that go beyond possible conflicts of interest.

I'm not sure what you mean by the NBPA refusing to share its BRI with the G League. I've never heard of the issue even coming up, and I don't know how the NBPA would "share" revenue with the G League players anyway. G League players are non-unionized employees of the G League teams (except for the guys who are NBPA members, such as players on two-way contracts). In substance, the G League teams are the NBA. The NBPA would be "sharing" its portion of BRI with the NBA, which makes no sense.

The NBA has actually been working up the G League for a couple years. My perception is that this is driven by the expectation that the one-and-done rule is going away soon and that there is going to be a need for a minor league landing pad for guys coming out of high school. Also, it has been a long time since the last expansion, and the talent pool is overflowing. If there is going to be an overflow league, I don't think that the NBA wants it to be run by Lavar Ball. This is just my belief -- I don't have any inside knowledge about the NBA's thinking, of course.

Finally, if the G League players unionize, the NBA will be required to bargain in good faith. This does not mean that the GLPA would have the leverage needed to get any meaningful concessions. You are right about that. However . . . if the NBA enters into a CBA with the GLPA, the NBA gets the non-statutory antitrust exemption for the G League. If I was Adam Silver, that would put a smile on my face.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 7:21 am    Post subject:

^^I recall in the last CBA it was reported that at some point there was a discussion of investing 1% of BRI into GLeague salaries with 0.5% coming from each side. I think it was Michele Roberts made it clear no amount would come from the players portion of BRI. Now since you have pointed out that GLeague is just the NBA (ownership), then that may be the reason.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:10 am    Post subject:

This topic got me interested in finding out how many players spent time in the G-league and made it to an nba roster. The number is 33%.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:48 am    Post subject:

In 2018, 53% of end of the year nba roster spots were guys with g league experience...
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:58 am    Post subject:

4stargeneralbulldog wrote:
This topic got me interested in finding out how many players spent time in the G-league and made it to an nba roster. The number is 33%.


I assume that is mostly 2 week contracts? The guys that legitimately worked their way to or back to the NBA from a G League contract that I can think of...

- Jonathon Simmons
- Alex Caruso
- Danny Green
- Robert Covington
- Seth Curry
- Quin Cook
- Jeremy Lin
- Justin Holliday
- Anthony Tolliver
- Hassan Whiteside

That is from over a decade of D/G League. The NCAA is still by far to largest player developer for the NBA, followed by foreign professional leagues.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:47 am    Post subject:

adkindo wrote:
^^I recall in the last CBA it was reported that at some point there was a discussion of investing 1% of BRI into GLeague salaries with 0.5% coming from each side. I think it was Michele Roberts made it clear no amount would come from the players portion of BRI. Now since you have pointed out that GLeague is just the NBA (ownership), then that may be the reason.


I don't remember that, but I'll take your word for it. It sounds like this was some oddball idea from the NBA negotiators. How could the NBPA agree to take money away from its members and give it (through the NBA) to non-union members?
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:38 am    Post subject:

adkindo wrote:
4stargeneralbulldog wrote:
This topic got me interested in finding out how many players spent time in the G-league and made it to an nba roster. The number is 33%.


I assume that is mostly 2 week contracts? The guys that legitimately worked their way to or back to the NBA from a G League contract that I can think of...

- Jonathon Simmons
- Alex Caruso
- Danny Green
- Robert Covington
- Seth Curry
- Quin Cook
- Jeremy Lin
- Justin Holliday
- Anthony Tolliver
- Hassan Whiteside

That is from over a decade of D/G League. The NCAA is still by far to largest player developer for the NBA, followed by foreign professional leagues.


Yep, I don't consider an NBA team sending their draft pick to play a game in the G-League as somebody who came up from it. I agree with you in that players who aren't good enough to make it into the NBA or went undrafted and are basically G-League players as their last shot to try to make the NBA. There isn't a very long list of guys who made it.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 1:39 pm    Post subject:

lakersken80 wrote:
adkindo wrote:
4stargeneralbulldog wrote:
This topic got me interested in finding out how many players spent time in the G-league and made it to an nba roster. The number is 33%.


I assume that is mostly 2 week contracts? The guys that legitimately worked their way to or back to the NBA from a G League contract that I can think of...

- Jonathon Simmons
- Alex Caruso
- Danny Green
- Robert Covington
- Seth Curry
- Quin Cook
- Jeremy Lin
- Justin Holliday
- Anthony Tolliver
- Hassan Whiteside

That is from over a decade of D/G League. The NCAA is still by far to largest player developer for the NBA, followed by foreign professional leagues.


Yep, I don't consider an NBA team sending their draft pick to play a game in the G-League as somebody who came up from it. I agree with you in that players who aren't good enough to make it into the NBA or went undrafted and are basically G-League players as their last shot to try to make the NBA. There isn't a very long list of guys who made it.


Okay, but things have changed a lot over the past two to three years. We now have two-way contracts, and the NBA is preparing for the end of the one-and-done rule. The D League/G League of 5-10 years ago has little or no relevance to what is going to happen moving forward.

The NBA has a glut of talent because there has been no expansion for 15 years while overseas players just keep increasing in number. We are about to have a wave of high schoolers skipping college and going straight to the pros. Players are not going to develop if they are buried at the bottom of the 15 man roster, but the NBA wants to keep control of as many players as possible. I wasn't joking when I referred to Lavar Ball in an earlier post. He may be a loudmouth, but the NBA would never want to see him start controlling young players.

A lot of folks still think of the G League as a place for guys like Andre Ingram. While those guys are still in the league, there is a lot more going on than that.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 9:14 pm    Post subject:

I hope the GLeague does grow and provide a real path to the NBA. I hope it is able to allow guys to stay in the US and play if an NBA opportunity is not currently available.....and I hope it can become a real option for guys that have no interest in college. For that to happen, it is going to take 1%-2% of BRI from one side or both combined to really make that happen.

I started this conversation because I struggled to see the leverage they would have to garner those livable wages, not because I did not think they deserved them or wished they would not receive them. I recall Vander Blue slept on someones couch and rode his bicycle to the practice facility with little money for personal expenses. How are players supposed to truly be at their best developing skills with that lifestyle?
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:33 am    Post subject:

For some strange reason, the Brandon Jennings route never became popular. I remembered a decade ago, he went overseas to Europe to play for a year, then was selected in the nba draft as a lottery pick. If I remember correctly he was handsomely paid just for a short stint.
In fact this is what I found.

Quote:
On July 16, 2008, Jennings signed with Lottomatica Roma of the Italian Serie A.[11] The contract he signed with Roma was for $1.65 million net income guaranteed.[12] After earning the contract with Lottomatica, Under Armour gave Jennings a $2 million contract[13] to showcase their products in the Euroleague. Jennings was the first American player to go straight from high school to play professionally for a European team rather than play for a college basketball team since the NBA's age restriction rule was implemented.[14]


If I was a top prospect, I rather go the Jennings route, than play for a top college program and then leave. Might as well get handsomely paid for it.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 5:56 am    Post subject:

4stargeneralbulldog wrote:
For some strange reason, the Brandon Jennings route never became popular. I remembered a decade ago, he went overseas to Europe to play for a year, then was selected in the nba draft as a lottery pick. If I remember correctly he was handsomely paid just for a short stint.
In fact this is what I found.

Quote:
On July 16, 2008, Jennings signed with Lottomatica Roma of the Italian Serie A.[11] The contract he signed with Roma was for $1.65 million net income guaranteed.[12] After earning the contract with Lottomatica, Under Armour gave Jennings a $2 million contract[13] to showcase their products in the Euroleague. Jennings was the first American player to go straight from high school to play professionally for a European team rather than play for a college basketball team since the NBA's age restriction rule was implemented.[14]


If I was a top prospect, I rather go the Jennings route, than play for a top college program and then leave. Might as well get handsomely paid for it.


a few have did it....Terrence Ferguson, Emmanuel Mudiay, then a couple guys are in Australia this year (LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton). It is an option for some people, but unless you can have family go over with you, its tough on an 18 year old, and can be a massive culture shock.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:31 pm    Post subject:

4stargeneralbulldog wrote:
For some strange reason, the Brandon Jennings route never became popular. I remembered a decade ago, he went overseas to Europe to play for a year, then was selected in the nba draft as a lottery pick. If I remember correctly he was handsomely paid just for a short stint.
In fact this is what I found.

Quote:
On July 16, 2008, Jennings signed with Lottomatica Roma of the Italian Serie A.[11] The contract he signed with Roma was for $1.65 million net income guaranteed.[12] After earning the contract with Lottomatica, Under Armour gave Jennings a $2 million contract[13] to showcase their products in the Euroleague. Jennings was the first American player to go straight from high school to play professionally for a European team rather than play for a college basketball team since the NBA's age restriction rule was implemented.[14]


If I was a top prospect, I rather go the Jennings route, than play for a top college program and then leave. Might as well get handsomely paid for it.



It's a risk. You could go overseas, have trouble adjusting to the culture, and different style of play. All those things could case you to play poorly and lower your draft stock.

Also, the "guarantees" aren't always guaranteed. Teams routinely break these agreements, and apparently the rules make it difficult for players to even file for arbitration when that happens. So you could sign a "handsome, guaranteed" deal, get cut, and not come away with anything. Again, very different than in the U.S.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:08 am    Post subject:

activeverb wrote:
4stargeneralbulldog wrote:
For some strange reason, the Brandon Jennings route never became popular. I remembered a decade ago, he went overseas to Europe to play for a year, then was selected in the nba draft as a lottery pick. If I remember correctly he was handsomely paid just for a short stint.
In fact this is what I found.

Quote:
On July 16, 2008, Jennings signed with Lottomatica Roma of the Italian Serie A.[11] The contract he signed with Roma was for $1.65 million net income guaranteed.[12] After earning the contract with Lottomatica, Under Armour gave Jennings a $2 million contract[13] to showcase their products in the Euroleague. Jennings was the first American player to go straight from high school to play professionally for a European team rather than play for a college basketball team since the NBA's age restriction rule was implemented.[14]


If I was a top prospect, I rather go the Jennings route, than play for a top college program and then leave. Might as well get handsomely paid for it.



It's a risk. You could go overseas, have trouble adjusting to the culture, and different style of play. All those things could case you to play poorly and lower your draft stock.

Also, the "guarantees" aren't always guaranteed. Teams routinely break these agreements, and apparently the rules make it difficult for players to even file for arbitration when that happens. So you could sign a "handsome, guaranteed" deal, get cut, and not come away with anything. Again, very different than in the U.S.


Even though players in the NCAA aren't supposed to be paid.....we know they hold significant advantages over leagues in Europe or Asia because of the geographical advantage for scouting. An NBA team could send their scouts to an NCAA game within a driving or short airline commute to see these potential draftees. Plus there is always the mystery of a player playing overseas against watered down competition, especially if the pro league is weak.
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