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#pounditMonday, November 29, 2021

G League launching team in Los Angeles headlined by Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd

Adam Silver

The NBA G League is ramping up its efforts to become a preferred destination for high school basketball players who want to forgo enrolling in college. A big part of that involves the launch of a new team in the Los Angeles area, and that team has already landed some top talent.

Five-star combo guard Jalen Green announced on Thursday that he will enter the G League’s professional pathway program rather than attend college. That program was launched in 2018 and previously paid players $125,000, but Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that Green will earn $500,000 with the potential to make more through endorsement opportunities.

Green is also joining a brand new G League development team in the Los Angeles area, according to Charania.

The Los Angeles team will be part of a G League-managed development program that includes professional coaching and a mix of top prospects and veteran players who will train and play exhibition games against G League teams, foreign national teams and NBA academies all over the world.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim have been focused on growing the G-League’s development program since top prospects LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton chose to play professionally with the National Basketball League in Australia. The idea is to keep more players in the United States before they enter the NBA.

“That’s a real program that the NBL has,” Abdur-Rahim told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Adrian Wojnarowski. “It’s appealing. We have kids leaving the United States — Texas and California and Georgia — to go around the world to play, and our NBA community has to travel there to scout them. That’s counterintuitive. The NBA is the best development system in the world, and those players shouldn’t have to go somewhere else to develop for a year. They should be in our development system.”

Green isn’t the only top high school prospect who will be joining the G League program. Five-star recruit Isaiah Todd, who recently decommitted from Michigan, will reportedly also join the new Los Angeles team.

Ball felt so strongly about his time playing in Australia that he decided to purchase his own NBL franchise.

The NBA is still working with the NBA Players Association to eliminate the one-and-done draft model, which requires high schoolers to play for a year post-high school before playing in the NBA. In the meantime, the revamped pro pathway program is designed to bridge the gap.

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