NBA AM: Is It Time For A 20-Year Rule?
Is It Time For 20?: In the Collective Bargaining process things are traded; one side gives up a point so the other side gives up their point.
Historically in this process current NBA players tend to sell out the younger NBA players, especially rookies. Notice there is not a single first or second year player on the NBA Players’ Association Executive Committee? So you can expect that if selling out the next wave of NBA Players is the key to getting a percentage point swing here or there, the rookies will get traded.
One topic that has not gotten a lot of attention in this process is the NBA’s expressed desire to raise the NBA’s minimum age limit from 19 years old or one year removed from your graduating class to 20 years old and two years removed from your graduating class.
Now most people thing the NBA’s age limit is bad for basketball, which is debatable. Some believe the NBA’s age limit is biased, and it very well may be.
The NBA fought for the 19 year age rule, not because they had huge issues with straight from high school players not being able to play, it was more about maturity, coachablity and ultimately marketablitly.
The NBA wanted desperately to get their people out of high school gyms and out of the business of dealing with high school coaches and the seedy underbelly of basketball, not that college basketball is much better, but at least there is a basic layer of accountability, where almost none exists in high school especially among the power teams.
The NBA also wanted to give its teams more of a chance to avoid mistakes. This is a common theme in the Collective Bargaining process that the players hate and the fans hate even more. But the reality is it is the league’s responsibility to craft a rule set that helps team’s succeed and sometimes that means protecting them from themselves.
There is a common belief that the more time teams have to evaluate players in highly competitive setting the better prepared they will be in making decisions.
The fastest way to the lottery in the NBA is to swing and miss on a draft pick. The NBA Draft is the easiest and fastest way to improve a team, and it also ends up being the cheapest way to add quality talent. The cheapest talent a NBA team will ever get is its first round draft pick, and swinging and missing on those picks can cripple a franchise.
Factor in the number of dollars that NBA teams have sitting on benches because the player they drafted either wasn’t ready or was a bust and the need for an age limit become pretty clear on the NBA side.
As a general philosophy NBA owners want to pay players to play, they generally do not want to pay players to learn the game. This is a battle most GMs face on a year to year basis in convincing ownership of the importance of development dollars. Smart owners have bought in for the most part, but that has not changed the overall idea that an age limit only helps teams avoid mistakes and reduce the development expense.
As the labor talks in the NBA are set to resume Monday, the bigger picture topics still have to be reached and agreed upon, but once both sides start in on details, expect one of the bigger details to be an increase in the NBA’s age limit and with everything the NBA is pushing for a 20-year age rule seems to be an easy chip for the NBA Players to cash, especially if it gets them a concession from the owners.
You may not like the idea of an age limit, but the truth of the matter is players have employment options other than the NBA and as far as the NBA’s concerned playing in the NBA is not a right, and it’s something a player has to earn.
Considering how many players opted to return to college, the 2012 NBA draft could still be a solid draft class even if the incoming rookies like Kentucky’s Anthony Davis or Baylor’s Quincy Miller are blocked from jumping into the NBA after their freshman year, it just means the player your team drafts might actually be ready to play in the NBA in his rookie year rather than spending the bulk of his first season in a suit or worse yet rolling in a bus in the D-League.
Time To Talk Again: ESPN’s Chris Sheridan is reporting that both the NBA and the NBA Players’ Association are setting up meetings to re-open collective bargaining talks and the first meeting looks to be scheduled for Monday August 1st, a full month after the NBA opted to lockout its players.
Monday’s meeting is not expected to feature a full cast of characters, rather basic personalities. NBA Players’ Association director Billy Hunter and his lawyers along with NBAPA president Derek Fisher are expected to represent the Players. NBA Commissioner David Stern, Labor committee chairman Peter Holt and deputy commissioner Adam Silver are expected to represent the Owners.
Both side remain miles apart on a framework for a deal with the NBA Players’ stance being that the current system works and should only be tweaked on the revenue split side, where the NBA would like to see an entirely new system crafted that would rein in costs and apply some level of parity to the league on the financial side.
Hunter recently explained his views on the situation, suggesting that things were playing out exactly as he predicted they would and the David Stern is following the script he laid out at the start of this labor process.
“He pretty much followed [his original] road map,” Hunter said to Jonathan Abrams of Grantland.com. “I was convinced when he told me then that he would do it, so I started to prepare the players.”
“They are trying to do the same thing here that they did in the case of the NHL and they’re following the same blueprint. I know it, and I preached it time and again to our players from the inception.
“I’ve said the same thing: They’re not negotiating in good faith; they have no desire or intentions of getting a deal without a lockout because if they think they can threaten us or lock us out for a year or whatever, that the players will cave and they’ll get everything they want.”
The Players’ latest offer proposed a reduction of their revenue split from 57% to 54.7%, which would represent a $100 million per season give back from the Players in order to keep the existing system in place.
The NBA owners want to see a 10-year deal that locks in more cost certainty and slow phases out the current soft cap system and replaces it with a harder more restrictive salary system.
The NBAPA’s claim that the NBA is strong arming its players into a hard cap like the NHL is a bit misplaced as the NHL’s salary cap jumped from $59.4 million to $64 million for this upcoming season, after under expected profits across the league.
The NHL has been able to rein in costs and which has solidified a number of teams on the brink of bankruptcy and enhanced franchise values enough so that troubled owners have been able to sell their teams to owners willing to invest.
Uniformly it’s believed that September 15th is the next target date. That would give teams and the league roughly 15 days before the scheduled start of training camp and would allow for enough league business to be completed to insure pre-season is unaffected.
Billy Hunter recently met with the major agents in the NBA, who urged Hunter to explore decertification of the Union so that class action lawsuits could commence as a means to apply pressure on the league.
Hunter is reluctant to take that stance, but if talks on Monday do not prove to be fruitful, that subject may get revisited.
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