The NCAA has decided to back down on its college education requirement for what has been dubbed the ‘Rich Paul Rule’. Previously, the NCAA was trying to institute a policy where agents representing players who were exploring the market in the NBA draft would need to have a bachelor’s.
That’s no longer the case, but the NCAA will no doubt try to find other ways to keep its assets — unpaid college athletes — under their control for as long as possible.
Meanwhile, Adam Silver things that Paul is doing things just fine. Speaking on The Jump this week, the NBA commissioner said that the Klutch Sports head honcho is a perfect example of how someone outside of the normal college-to-agency path can succeed.
Via The Jump:
“I think Rich has more than demonstrated that he’s a professional negotiator, and that he’s a highly-trained and competent agent. I think the best way would be to say there are exceptions that can be made and he’s a perfect example of that.”
“I didn’t even know all about Rich’s background until I read a long feature on him in Sports Illustrated recently. I knew a little bit about his background and how he met LeBron [James] and their other group that work together… but it’s a classic sort of American rags to riches story, in essence. What he’s overcome in his life — difficult circumstances — and be the success he is today demonstrates that there are other paths to success. A traditional one is through college, but certainly for the league, and I can’t speak for the NCAA, we want to ensure people from all walks of life can be successful in our system.”
The NCAA was trying to implement this rule because of what Paul did with a former top Syracuse prospect, Darius Bazley. Instead of heading to New York state, Bazley decided to head to New Balance and work with the shoe company on a $1 million internship (tied to his future NBA prospects, of course).
Now their rule is stripped of its most vicious restriction, and Paul can continue to do whatever he wants. Of course, given that Paul runs a whole agency, that was always going to be the case anyway, but more power to the NCAA for flubbing up an entire implementation of a biased rule and turning it into a PR storm.
What are the odds that one of the teams from Los Angeles is in the NBA Finals?
Could the Utah Jazz surprise the Lakers and Clippers, returning to the Finals for the first time since Stockton and Malone?
Or is it Denver’s turn to step up? Maybe James Harden and Russell Westbrook in Houston’s turn? How about Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum?
The NBA’s Western Conference really is the Wild West this season where anything can happen, and Mark Medina of the USA Today joins me to break down the conference, who could come out and make the Finals, and how, in a very deep conference, there will be no easy path forward.
As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.
We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.
Two seasons ago, Julius Randle broke out as a scorer with the Lakers when he stopped trying to be what everyone else wanted him to be and started just playing bully ball getting to the rim. Last season he took that to another level in New Orleans, while the Pelicans’ team fell apart around him he averaged 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds a game.
Now he’s got a two-year, $63 million contract in New York — and the Knicks are counting on him to be a leading scorer for them. While R.J. Barrett develops, the Knicks are banking on Randle and Dennis Smith Jr. to go get buckets.
Randle wants to get them and more — he wants to be an All-Star (the Knicks’ first since Carmelo Anthony), then lead the Knicks to the playoffs. That’s what he told Stephan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
“I just feel like situation and opportunity. Everything I’ve been through in the past, all the work I’ve put in in the past has prepared me for this opportunity now,” Randle said. “So [All-Stars] just a goal of mine. Eventually you feel like you have an opportunity. I feel like I do.”
“(The playoffs are) extremely important. I’m not going to sit here and talk about every day but it’s extremely important,” he said. “That’s what you work hard for. You talk about opportunity, this is my opportunity to be a real leader.
“So I just want to make sure everybody’s connected and we get better every day. I like our team compared to a lot of other teams. We do what we need to do every day to get better, that mental focus, lock in, stay connected, I like our team.”
Making the All-Star team could happen. Randle is going to put up numbers and get plenty of exposure in Madison Square Garden, and there’s space on the roster. Guys such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid are All-Star locks, but the second tier of East frontcourt players — Blake Griffin, Khris Middleton, Nikola Vucevic — is one it feels like Randle could crack.
To do that, the Knicks need to find a way to win enough to make Randle look good compared to other guys trying to get in the All-Star club (Lauri Markkanen, for example).
Will that be enough wins to make the playoffs? Well… maybe just focus on the All-Star part first. To be fair, I wouldn’t want a player on my team who went into the season thinking his team had no shot at the postseason. Reality will hit Randle and the Knicks soon enough.
Before it does, at least Randle has set his goals high.
When Stephen Curry was asked about how the NBA moves forward in its relationship with China, he gave an answer backing Commissioner Adam Silver’s second position and playing it straight down the middle.
LeBron James was a little more aggressive, saying he didn’t have the necessary information to comment, and suggesting Rockets GM Daryl Morey had no idea what he was getting into. Via Marc Spears of ESPN and Ben Golliver of the Washington Post.
LeBron’s comments quickly blew up on Twitter, and soon after he clarified what he meant, saying he was referring to the backlash from the Tweet.
This issue will not die.
Both the NBA and China would like it to, and both are working on relaxing tensions, including NBA preseason games being shown in China again. Both sides want to move on. It’s not good for the NBA’s bottom line, and in China the NBA is incredibly popular with younger generations.
But the questions about relations between the NBA and China are not going away, and issues are going to flare up again.
Tyler Herro is having himself an impressive preseason.
He already dropped 18 points in a preseason game last week and throughout the preseason has shown he’s ready to knock down shots at the NBA level.
Monday night he went 5-of-5 — 4-of-4 from three — to score 14 straight points for the Heat.
He’s also showing he can do more than just shoot, crowd him at the arc and he can put the ball on the court and make a play.
Herro’s fellow rookies voted him the best shooter in this draft class and he’s looked every bit of that. The No. 13 pick out of Kentucky started to show that in the Las Vegas Summer League, where he scored on catch-and-shoot chances, pull-ups, step-backs, running off screens, and he could get out in transition as well. Doing that in Summer League is one thing, doing in the NBA preseason is a step up from that — but the real test, the NBA season, is a whole different level.
In Miami, they love the production but what fans really like is Herro plays with swagger.
We’ll see how his rookie season goes, but put that shooting and hustle next to Jimmy Butler for stretches and Miami becomes a lot more interesting.