June 15, 2024

NBA Draft Rumors: Execs Feel NIL Has ‘Watered Down’ the 2024 Class of Prospects | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

CHICAGO, ILLIONIS, UNITED STATES - MAY 13: A general view of the strength and agility testing station during the NBA Draft Combine at Wintrust Arena on May 13, 2024, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jacek Boczarski/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Jacek Boczarski/Anadolu via Getty Images

A few NBA teams believe that the 2024 draft class has been “watered down” because of NIL.

ESPN’s Jeremy Woo provided that report, noting that people believe specifically believe it moreso affects “the middle of the pool,” e.g. the “market for two-way contracts and undrafted free agents.”

“College programs ultimately have more sway right now in bringing players back using their NIL allotment — in some instances, encouraging players to return to school and stay out of the pre-draft process entirely. Some NBA teams I spoke with felt this year’s combine and G League Elite Camp were somewhat watered down as a result. That dynamic has served to thin out the middle of the pool a bit, which affects the market for two-way contracts and undrafted free agents, although not as much as in the draft’s first round.”

One example is Illinois’ Coleman Hawkins, who is reportedly looking for a $2 million NIL deal after pulling out of draft considering and returning to college, per Aaron Torres of Fox Sports Radio.

Aaron Torres @Aaron_Torres

Coleman Hawkins will return to college hoops, in news first reported by @ShamsCharania.
Per a source, his agent has already let schools know he’s looking for a pay day on par with Great Osobor (reported $2 million).
In other words, if you’re not ready to pay – don’t call

Per Rookie Scale’s NBA draft consensus big board, Hawkins is ranked 55th, so it’s possible he could have been a second-round pick, or at least a high-end undrafted free agent.

Mountain West Player of the Year Great Osobor also earned a $2 million NIL payday from Washington after transferring from Utah State. Osobor was once an early entry candidate for the NBA draft.

Of course, there’s an opposite effect to this, as some college basketball stars now stay in the game and actually increase the quality of the sport’s play.

Ultimately, the biggest and most well-deserved winners here are the college basketball players, who could grab seven-figure paydays by staying in school and then improving their draft stock in the process, thereby netting themselves even more money down the road.