College Basketball Players Ability To Make Money Knockouts A G League Franchise

FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2019, file photo, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a news conference before an NBA preseason basketball game between the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors in Saitama, Japan. Silver is giving preseason state-of-the-league remarks Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, before opening night Tuesday, talking about how the league will handle the ongoing pandemic and the continued focus on social issues such as racial injustice. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Team Ignite will not exist much longer.

It is rather unusual in sports when the college sports industry can force a professional sports franchise out of business. But that has happened because college basketball players can get paid through name, image and licensing marketing partnerships. Because of that, the National Basketball Association’s player development league has announced it will disband its Las Vegas market Henderson, Nevada-based Ignite franchise. The franchise’s final game takes place on March 28th with the Ignite franchise playing the Ontario, California-based Clippers. The Ignite franchise was set up for players coming out of high school who could have gone to college but decided that they wanted a paycheck. The Ignite franchise is in its fourth season and has produced a top 10 draft pick in each of the last three NBA Drafts. The Ignite franchise has done its job in developing players but now that college basketball players can get money from marketing partners and possibly more money by playing in college, the franchise is not needed.

The NBA’s statement laid out the present college sports industry’s environment. “The decision to end the program comes amid the changing basketball landscape, including the NCAA’s Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) policy and the advent of collectives and the transfer portal.”  In February, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the Ignite team was probably no longer needed. “They (Ignite players) wanted the ability not just to earn a living playing basketball but to do commercial deals that weren’t available to them at college, to hire professional agents, an opportunity that wasn’t available to them at college, they now, all of those same opportunities have become available to them. The NBA has come to the realization that college sports is a professional endeavor. NBA owners would rather have colleges develop players as it saves them some money.

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