Jalen Green's G League contract leaves NCAA with life-or-death decision

Jalen Green's G League contract leaves NCAA with life-or-death decision

Jalen Green did not kill college basketball. Rather, he compared NCAA disparities and NBA inducements and reached a logical conclusion that could open the door to its death.

Green’s decision to bypass the NCAA and opt for the G League makes him a pioneer, high-profile test case for the NBA and its minor league to provide a salaried alternative to the relative servitude that is college hoops.

If anyone should take this leap, it is Green, widely considered the No. 1 prep in the country. NBA agent Aaron Goodwin – who previously shepherded prep-to-pros clients LeBron James and Dwight Howard – also represents Green and, naturally, believes in him.

“The way I’ve done business for 29 years shows people that I have a great eye for talent and that I pick kids that can become great ballplayers, great people on and off the court,” Goodwin told NBC Sports Bay Area. “He’s in that mold.”

One day after Green agreed to his contract on Thursday, he was followed Friday by Isaiah Todd, another top-five prep taking the same route. Expect several others in the coming days and weeks, multiple sources told NBC Sports Bay Area Thursday and Friday.

This is precisely what the NBA had in mind 18 months ago when it created the G League Select Contract as “part of a comprehensive path” for elite preps to become professionals. The league altered its business model closer to those of MLB and the NHL, both of whom allow graduating prep seniors the option of entering the work force immediately after high school.


About time? Nah. Overdue.

Green, 18, spent his senior season at Napa’s Prolific Prep basketball academy, with Napa Christian High as its academic partner. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard, a Fresno native, averaged 31.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists for the 31-3 Crew.

He has been compared to past and present NBA players, including the late Kobe Bryant, and also has drawn raves from the likes of Dwyane Wade. Green has worked with, get this, Stephen Curry and Luca Doncic.

With his senior year shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, Green faced three options.

One, he could go to college – reportedly the University of Memphis – for one season and then declare for the 2021 NBA draft.

Two, he could follow the path of LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton, who spent last season playing professionally overseas. Ball reportedly earned less than $100,000, while Hampton reportedly earned much more. Both are eligible for the 2020 NBA draft.

Three, Green could turn pro on home soil by signing a one-year G-League contract worth more than the previously reported $500,000, according to multiple sources, and be eligible for the 2021 NBA draft.

Option No. 3 won, and It wasn’t close. Nor should it be. The G League program also allows for a scholarship should anyone going through the program decide to pursue higher education. Green’s parents left it up to him, and they agree with his choice, according to Goodwin.

“They realize he can’t lose,” he said. “If the NBA really wants to do this program right, and they really want kids to see how great it is to come to the NBA, how could they let this kid fail? They’ve got to put their entire machine behind not only this kid but this program, so they can show others that really believe they’re one-and-done . . . that they can come to the G League and hone your craft with the best we have.”

The movement was crafted by the NBA and the office of former G League president Malcolm Turner. Former Cal star and NBA All-Star Shareef Abdur-Rahim succeeded Turner and now, with Green’s groundbreaking decision, the G League program is atop the mind of all future recruits.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Abdur-Rahim took note of Ball and Hampton leaving high school to play overseas and thought there had to be better way. Consider this their response.

Which puts NCAA in position to respond or surrender, and that monolithic organization can’t be pleased with either option.

The fair response is to share some of the multibillion-dollar pie currently divided among coaches, schools, conferences and the NCAA itself – everybody except the skilled laborers. They’re told a scholarship is pay, and to be careful who buys them a sandwich.

[RELATED: How Green's decision affects Kings]

There is plenty of money to go around in the NCAA sanctum, where rules are subjective and punishment is arbitrary, but there has been an avowed reluctance to share it.

If the NCAA surrenders, the college game will live on. It won’t thrive. It will be light on talent, revenue will start dropping and it will face yet another decision.

Meanwhile, let NCAA basketball consider its future. And let Jalen Green find a future that is everything he ever dreamed it would be.

NBA rumors: Steph Curry to represent Warriors at 2020 draft lottery

NBA rumors: Steph Curry to represent Warriors at 2020 draft lottery

The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery will be held next Thursday, Aug. 20.

Who will be representing the Warriors at the virtual event?

Marcus Thompson of The Athletic is "hearing" Golden State superstar Steph Curry is the choice.

"If Steph Curry ever came and said, 'I want to do this. Put me on the lottery dais,' I think it would be pretty hard to say no," Golden State assistant general manager told Kerith Burke and Grant Liffmann this week on the "Runnin' Plays" podcast. "He's a pretty lucky guy. You want somebody who has good luck to be up there representing you.

"We got some ideas as far as lucky tokens as well."

This story will be updated.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Warriors, Hawks announce 'Voter’s Win' registration competition for fans

Warriors, Hawks announce 'Voter’s Win' registration competition for fans

Neither the Warriors nor the Atlanta Hawks were invited to participate last month in the NBA’s Orlando restart. Already eliminated from postseason, they were relegated being spectators.

Neither franchise, however, settled for short-term irrelevance. They will compete against each other in ways that exceed the boundaries of sports.

Both teams announced Thursday that they are launching a “Voter’s Win” registration drive involving their fans, with the winner will be determined by the fan base best represented by new voters between Aug. 13 and national election day on Nov. 3.

“It’s great that the Warriors and Hawks are coming together on this program to challenge to get our fans to register to vote,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It's a collective effort. It’s something the NBA believes in deeply, that everybody in this country takes part in our democracy.

“This is not about who you're voting for. It's about exercising your right as an American citizen to vote. We want to make it into a competition, have little fun with it and challenge everybody out there to register and be ready to vote in November.”

The initiative, in partnership with “I Am a Voter” organization, will be split into a four-quarter format, like NBA games, with the “score” being announced at the end of each quarter. Dub Nation can engage the process by texting “WARRIORS” to 26797 to receive instructions.

The winner of each quarter will receive the “Good Trouble” trophy, so named after the signature phrase of the late Rep. John Lewis.

[RELATED: Why Klay believes it's a "hard time to play" in NBA restart]

“‘The Voters Win’ competition is a fun way to encourage fans to use their voices and exercise their right to vote,” Hawks CEO Steve Koonin said in a statement. “It’s incredibly important that every member of our community, that is of age, is registered to vote and with 82 days left until the general election, the time is now to make sure you are ready for November.”

Behind such activists as Stephen Curry, COO Rick Welts and Kerr, this is the latest example of the Warriors' commitment to making statements beyond the court.


[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]