The contentious draft-night trade between the Suns and the Philadelphia 76ers continues to favor the Suns.
After a preseason injury to Zhaire Smith, the Sixers’ guy at 16 after acquiring the pick from Phoenix, the future first-rounder given up by the Suns just became less valuable.
Not only were pessimists about the deal concerned that from Phoenix’s perspective, the 2021 Miami Heat first-rounder was too valuable to move up six slots in the draft, but that the pick could get even more valuable over time. This was June, when it looked as if the league could move to abolish the one-and-done rule for college players in time for the 2021 draft.
The worry was that 2021 would see a “double draft,” with players from both the high-school classes of 2020 and 2021 eligible to enter.
New reports from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Adrian Wojnarowski show changes in the NBA’s plans for the draft. Not only has the league reportedly informed teams that no changes to high school player’s eligibility will occur before 2022, but the G League is opening itself up to amateurs for better pay than ever before.
According to Givony, the G League will offer “Select Contracts” of $125,000 to players who are over 18 but not yet eligible for the draft. Think Deandre Ayton, if he had bypassed Arizona to start being paid a salary and traveling as part of a professional program.
This all will change the calculus of scouting and evaluating talent in a few years, but for now, it lessens the value of that Heat pick and makes the Suns’ bet on Mikal Bridges look even better.