Decision 2020: NBA G-League Season in Jeopardy?


As America awaits learning it’s future for the next four years on this Election Day, we’ll have to wait a little bit longer to receive a decision on when the next NBA season will start, and with it, the resumption of the NBA G-League.

In September, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told Bob Costas that the NBA would be looking at a January start, but that a full 82-game season would be the goal. From an article on, Silver said, “The goal for us next season is to play a standard season … an 82-game season and playoffs. And further, the goal would be to play games in home arenas in front of fans, but there’s still a lot that we need to learn.”

Though there has been some discussion about a potential start around Christmas, as referenced by the NBA Players Association, the longer it takes the league and the NBAPA to work out an agreement, the less likely that would be. Executive director of the Players Association, Michele Roberts, told Shams Charania last week, “Given all that has to be resolved between now and a Dec. 22 date, factoring that there will be financial risks by a later start date, it defies common sense that it can all be done in time.”

With no details around when the NBA season will start, G-League players can’t sit around and wait for the league like their full-NBA counterparts, as G-League contracts are only year-to-year. While playing internationally is a common practice for those in the development league, this kind of season overlap isn’t. For example, the Korean Basketball League, where Dedric Lawson from last year’s Austin Spurs is currently playing, started in October and won’t conclude their regular season in April. Without a Summer League structure for guys like Lawson, it’s hard to tell what their options will be domestically with the NBA.

Back in September, I received a message from someone asking if there would be a G-League season this year. At the time, I believed there would be no reason why the G-League wouldn’t have their season, and I still believe they will, though what it may look like is becoming more and more difficult to discern.

The countdown to the NBA Draft is ticking, as we’re just two weeks away from November 18th. It has been floated around that this draft class lacks some real potential difference makers outside of the top five selections, which means that the teams selecting anyone else will need time to catch their new players up to NBA speed. Of course, they’ll be doing this without a Summer League with which to further evaluate them and their fit on the court, which could hinder their readiness when the season does start, which even in January would be just two months after they were picked.

Even more impacted on the players drafted, those who go undrafted would be the ones to really miss out on the absence of a summer league to show how they could add to an organization via a two-way contract, or investing in them for further evaluation in the G-League. That kind of uncertainty could make playing overseas or down south in Mexico more enticing, especially if teams would feel more comfortable opting for guys who they got to see in the G-League last season, provided guys like Lawson don’t have a hard time getting out of their contracts.

While the makeup of the G-League’s structure of players and games might be different than in past years, fans and prospective players of the G-League should feel assured there’ll be a season. Case in point is the G-League Ignite team, made up of some of the top players domestic and international from the 2020 recruiting class, which I wrote about this spring here.

Ever since the one-year requirement was placed on players coming out of high school, making them wait a full season before being eligible to join the NBA, the league has been trying to recruit the top young talents under the NBA umbrella through the G-League. With a haul like they had this year, the opportunity of this year to showcase the program is too good to waste.

Rest assured, once the NBA resumes, it will be with the G-League in tow, which means a 16th season for developmental basketball in Austin. Now we just need a GM, a head coach, and a roster.

Are you ready for the next G-League season? Let me know, @JarkClonas on Twitter, and through @ProjectSpurs.

As we prepare for the NBA Draft, be sure to check out Benjamin Bornstein’s writeups on all the top prospects with his Prospect Watch series.

If you’re a fan of the Austin Spurs, you might enjoy these pieces from the off-season:


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