NBA AM: David Stern Blasts NCAA Draft Rule
Commissioner David Stern Blasts NCAA: It’s March Madness, so naturally around this time of year talks start to revolve around what top collegiate prospects have declared or should declare for the upcoming NBA draft in June.
But this season will be a little different.
The NCAA has enacted a rule which gives collegiate prospects a significantly less amount of time to test out their professional draft stock.
Simply put, any player who wants to keep their collegiate eligibility intact will have to withdraw their name from NBA draft consideration on April 10 – which is just one full week after the NCAA season ends.
The NBA draft is annually held in June.
This is roughly two and half months of separation; a time where prospects typically drastically improve their stocks and earnings potential.
NBA commissioner David Stern took exception to the ruling calling the NCAA out for potentially enforcing a rule which in his eyes hurts the student-athletes the organization should be trying to protect in the first place.
“That’s a can that I don’t want to open up, other than to say we’d like to make it as easy for the players as possible,” Stern said to the media on Tuesday night in Phoenix. “If the NCAA would spend a little less time talking about whether players should stay in school for one or two years and enforce their rules equally. … I think the most important thing is to get kids in college the most informed advice they can get without losing their eligibility. That’s what they should be focusing on. Hopefully they’ll get around to it, because it seems fair and just.”
Ultimately, the NCAA is trying to force the hands of collegiate athletes and tilt the scales toward more players staying longer in school and competing at the university level.
The rule likely doesn’t impact the decision of underclassmen surefire lottery picks, but for the middle tier guys, the less time to be evaluated and perform on the NBA pre-draft circuit will diminish their overall value where they’ve perennially been able improve their stocks before the draft takes place.
Our good friend Jonathan Givony of Draft Express discussed this last week stating the new rule sanctioned by the NCAA essentially eliminated the “testing the waters” period for prospects. .
Since the NCAA bars third parties (even family members) of college players from reaching out to NBA teams to discuss their draft stock and the NBA itself has strict no-contact rules regarding the way teams can communicate with players who are not officially draft-eligible (before the early-entry list is released in early May), the only way an underclassman can gather information about his draft stock is through his college head coach. Furthermore, the head coach is only allowed to talk with the principal basketball operations executive from each team (ie: the general manager), according to NBA rules, and the underclassman may not participate in or be present during any such conversation.
Stern believes the NCAA can devise a much smarter method to handle the issue of players who decide to declare early.
“A college could always not have players who are one and done,” Stern said. “They could do that. They could actually require their players go to classes. Or they could get the players agree to stay in school and ask for their scholarship money back if they didn’t fulfill their promises.”
Plenty of underclassmen typically utilize the yearly pre-draft workout sessions as a measuring rod on their respective games since in the past a lot of these players could work out for NBA teams up to two weeks before the draft and with valuable feedback from pro evaluators.
Eventually a lot of these guys return back to campus but armed with the knowledge of their pro stock and areas they need to strengthen if they ultimately want to don a NBA uniform.
The option is now closed, for now at the very least in what appears to be a lopsided rule slated against the youngsters who are supposed to be the ones being protected.
Hornets’ Eric Gordon Finally Nearing Return? New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon has missed all but two games this season dealing with a troublesome knee injury, but now there are reports he may be nearing a return for the final month of the season.
Gordon was expected to take part in the team’s evening practice on Tuesday to test out the surgically repaired knee. If all went well then Gordon may be able to join the team back on the court over the next few games.
The Hornets hit the road and will face the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
Hornets coach Monty Williams was cautious with the media about expecting Gordon to play in that contest.
“You know me; I’d like to have him back yesterday,” Williams told Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune. “But if he can practice, then that means he could be closer than we think. I don’t want to lead you on to think that if he has a good practice he’ll play against Golden State. But if he does have a good practice and he’s feeling good, you never know.”
Gordon, who was acquired in the Chris Paul trade with the Clippers last December hasn’t played since January 4 against the Philadelphia 76ers. He says the procedure was the first in his career, but the knee is starting to round into form.
“I didn’t do anything for about 2.5 almost three weeks,” Gordon said. “Next thing you know, I started lifting on it, and then started running, basically. At this point now, it’s just all about feeling comfortable, cutting and doing things on the court at this point. I’ve had no problems cutting, jumping, and now it’s just all about having that comfort level and being ready for contact.
“I’m just making it a process. That was my first surgery, so I really was trying to be careful, but I didn’t have any setbacks at all, even when I was working out hard. I just haven’t had any setbacks and have been working with the (training and rehab) staff pretty good. That’s the main thing, the practices, maybe get one or two in and see how things feel with contact. It’s always different when you’re working out and playing.”
Securing the future of the high scoring guard with the team is expected to be one of the rebuilding Hornets’ top priorities this offseason.
In January, Gordon rejected a four-year contract extension worth around $50 million opting to test his value in free agency this summer.
Gordon will likely enter the offseason as an restricted free agent with the Hornets having the ability to match any offer from opposing clubs for his services.
It is highly unlikely the franchise lets him walk after envisioning Gordon as the centerpiece returning asset in the Paul deal.
Still, on the record at least, the Hornets are saying they will use the last month of the season to fully evaluate whether Gordon is a building block of the future.
“I think you need more than 10 or 12 games to get a good look at somebody,” Williams said. “The kind of investment we’re talking about making [in Gordon], you want to make sure you’re right about that.”
The Hornets have 17 games remaining on the schedule and currently own the second worst record in the league.
Blazers Reopens Search For General Manager: It has been almost a full year since the Portland Trail Blazers fired Rich Cho as general manager leaving the team with a void in the front office.
But according to Jason Quick of The Oregonian, team president Larry Miller says the team is reopening its search for a new GM.
For the past year the team’s typical GM duties has been handled by committee, with Miller, salary cap analyst Joe Cronin and acting GM Chad Buchanan handling the duties.
Their collective results have received mixed reviews.
There are rumors of former guard Brandon Roy feeling he was a bit shoved out of the door by the front office and forced into retirement, the trade for veteran point guard Raymond Felton, originally applauded as a great move, hasn’t panned out as expected and the team’s decision not to lock up promising forward Nicolas Batum long term in January have drawn some ire from fans.
But the club has strategically maintained its financial flexibility going forward since they’re not hampered by long term immovable contracts and last week the franchise picked up forward J.J. Hickson off the waiver wire – a move which has started to pay immediate dividends.
According to the report, the frontrunner for the position is expected to be TNT analyst Steve Kerr who once served as general manager of the Phoenix Suns and was offered the Portland job after Cho was released last year.
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