Thursday’s announcement that the NBA plans to offer what it’s calling “select contracts” worth $125,000 to elite pro prospects not old enough to be eligible for its draft drew a mix of incredulity and consternation from some associated with the WNBA.
The NBA’s decision to entice budding star high school players as an alternative to its one-and-done rule would pay those prospects a higher salary than the current maximum in the WNBA, a figure in the neighborhood of $110,000 to $120,000 annually. For context, the endeavor would pay an 18-year-old male player with no professional experience more than WNBA stars such as Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi, A’ja Wilson and Chiney Ogwumike.
Players such as Wilson and Ogwumike, both among the league’s biggest stars, expressed their reactions on Twitter, ranging from dubious to flat-out disbelief.
The NBA plans to begin its dissemination of “select contracts” come summer 2019. Per ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, the league plans to hire a program director to oversee and develop this professional path, while still potentially planning to lower its age limit to eliminate the one-and-done rule by 2022.
WNBA players can opt out of their collective bargaining agreement with the league by Oct. 31.