Chances improving for a Mark Sears return to Alabama Basketball

A Mark Sears return to Alabama Basketball might become a sound financial decision for the Crimson Tide star.
Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY

There is increased optimism that Mark Sears will be on the Alabama Basketball 2024-25 roster. Reasons why are not tied to lack of NBA interest in Sears. Most NBA Draft projections have him being selected somewhere between the middle of the second round to possibly undrafted. Even in an undrafted situation, Sears is expected to land one of the NBA's 2-Way contracts.

The NBA 2-Ways mean the new pro will play mostly in the NBA's G-League. Each NBA team may sign three players to Two-Way deals, with the players sometimes being bumped to NBA game action. Former Alabama basketball player JD Davison turned professional with a 2-Way deal from the Celtics. In two seasons, Davison has played in 20 NBA games.

The player compensation in a 2-Way deal is around $560,000 per year. However, that salary is not guaranteed money. Players drafted in each year's first round gain guaranteed contracts. Some players drafted in the second round are also afforded guaranteed deals, but most second-rounders are not.

Mark Sears may not get drafted high enough in the second round to receive a guaranteed contract. Not only can the Alabama Crimson Tide put half-a-million on the table for Sears, it would be locked in money.

The source fueling this speculation is a good one, basketball expert Jeff Goodman. Alabama fans who don't know Jeff should be aware he is not the 'other' Goodman known well to Alabama fans for shoddy reporting filled with baseless claims.

Nate Oats and Alabama Basketball NIL $$$

During a recent YouTube conversation, Jeff Goodman stated Mark Sears will be back if he is not assured of a guaranteed contract. Goodman is known for solid information. He also said that Alabama Basketball has increased NIL funds from around $900K to $2.5M - $3M. Other basketball programs have more to throw around, with Arkansas purportedly giving John Calipari $5M, but Nate Oats has ample funds.

Alabama basketball fans love Mark Sears. If he can count on a guaranteed NBA deal he should turn professional. If he does not receive such assurance, Alabama can reward him handsomely.

With this new information, the timeline for a decision by Sears moves up to May 29th. College players can enter the draft and if undrafted can return to college. That option must be taken the Monday after the Draft. A college player who is drafted does not have an opportunity to continue amateur status. So, if Sears was drafted outside the top 40 or so players in the Draft, there would be no guaranteed contract and his college career would be over.

If Mark Sears decides his two options are an NBA guaranteed contract, or returning to Alabama, he will have until May 29 to make his choice.

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