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John Calipari against adding third round to NBA draft: ‘You’re trying to ruin college basketball’

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Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he could see the NBA adding a third round to its draft.

Kentucky coach John Calipari loathes that idea.

Calipari, via Alex Scarborough of ESPN:

“If anybody supports more rounds in the draft, those more rounds are to get kids to go to the G League, you do not care about college basketball or you’re trying to ruin college basketball,” Calipari said.

“After two years they don’t perform, what? The NBA is going to take care of them and hire them? No. It’s entertainment. You’re done,” Calipari said.

“If they’re not going to the NBA, if we’re really about young people, we should encourage them to go to college,” he said. “And the reason is their way out is through education. Their way to break through to the American dream is education.”

The most overlooked and most important aspect of this debate: The draft is an anti-labor mechanism.

Sure, players get dressed up and celebrate getting picked. They treat it as an honor.

But the draft serves to limit players and give power to teams.

Drafted players can negotiate a contract with only one NBA team. They can’t use other NBA teams for leverage. First-rounders must follow a strict salary scale, which caps wages well below market value.

I estimate about 90% of first-round picks would receive better contracts as undrafted free agents. The proof is in NBA teams’ repeated willingness to pay the rookie scale.

It’s a myth that first-round picks receive guaranteed salaries. If signed, they get two years of guaranteed salary. But the drafting team doesn’t have to offer a contract at all.

Yet, nearly every team is eager to pay a first-rounder what the scale dictates. In the rare times a team isn’t, it’s easy enough to find another team that is and trade the pick.

Only once has a team ever renounced a first-rounder rather than trying to sign him. The Bulls did with No. 29 pick Travis Knight in 1996.

If teams could pay more to secure to secure a first-round-caliber player, it stands to reason they often would. But they don’t have to bid against each other.

The anti-player effects of exclusive rights also extend the second round. It’s a cloudier picture there, because so many teams draft someone in the second round contingent on him agreeing to contract terms beforehand. So, second-round-grade players do get more power over the process. However, the threat always looms of getting drafted by an undesirable team and being forced to negotiate with only that team. That presses some second-round prospects into less-than-ideal, but not-worst-case-scenario, arrangements.

There’s always more flexibility with going undrafted. Beyond an anchoring effect of teams favoring players they drafted, there’s also more favorable contracts with going undrafted.

So, a third round would get treated as more opportunities. Players love getting drafted, and 30 more players would get drafted. But there aren’t more opportunities. NBA regular-season rosters are still limited to 15 standard contracts and two two-way contracts.

There’d just be more players facing the limitation of exclusive bargaining rights.

The players union shouldn’t agree to more draft rounds… without getting concessions in return.

As the NBA’s minor league expands to each team having its own affiliate, I envision NBA teams holding the NBA rights of its minor leaguers. Currently, players signed to minor-league contracts are NBA free agents. The only way to get players to agree to relinquish their freedom in that way is with higher minor-league salaries, which I believe are coming.

The best way to stock those minor-league affiliates might be through a longer NBA draft.

At that point, teams could decide how long to invest in those fringe players. Maybe it’ll be two years. Maybe it’ll be longer. I doubt there’d be a hard-and-fast rule.

College-basketball eligibility comes with a four-year limit.

We shouldn’t treat college basketball as sacrosanct. The NCAA is a cartel that caps players’ compensation. Maybe that will change. But until it does, major college sports are ruining themselves while coaches and administrators hoard money for themselves.

If the NBA develops a minor-league and longer-draft system that appeals to players, that’d be great. Elite prospects deserve better options.

The onus should be on college basketball to keep up – not complain about competition.

Steve Kerr: ‘Very unlikely’ Warriors will play another regular-season game

Warriors coach Steve Kerr
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NBA owners and players are reportedly united on finishing the season or, as Adrian Wojnarowski put it, “finding a way to be able to crown a champion this season.”

Where does that leave the Warriors, the only team eliminated from the playoff race before coronavirus forced a league-wide stoppage?

Golden State coach Steve Kerr on “The Full 48,” via Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area:

“Look, for us, our season is basically over,” Kerr said. “If the league was somehow to start up again, it’s very unlikely we would be playing regular-season games given that they’d be in such a time crunch. Who knows?

“But I’m feeling for all the teams in the fight, in the thick of it for a championship, that are in the playoff race, teams that have put so much into this, and this was obviously a year for us where we were trying to get healthy, trying to develop some young guys. So I’m not concerned about our guys, our team. I feel sorry for the teams that are kind of in limbo right now.”

There’s chatter about resuming play with a play-in tournament and postseason in Las Vegas. The league could be sharing plans internally. Kerr could be proven right. It’s certainly possible Kerr was even already told the Warriors are finished with the regular season.

But I don’t share his prediction.

There’s a lot of money to be made by holding more regular-season games, especially for high-revenue teams like Golden State.

This was a gap year for the Warriors. They’re clearly ready to move on.

But Stephen Curry is healthy again. By the time the hiatus ends, Klay Thompson might be cleared. With other stars on the court, Draymond Green could be more engaged. Though there would be limits on Golden State’s competitiveness, that team would be a draw that could help stuff the league’s coffers.

As Kerr said, there are unprecedented timing issues. Yet, every game is a revenue opportunity. That matters, too.

Florida State forward Patrick Williams declares for NBA draft

Florida State forward Patrick Williams
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Devin Vassell declared for the NBA draft from Florida State.

Now, Patrick Williams is following.

Evan Daniels of 247Sports:

Florida State freshman Patrick Williams is declaring for the NBA Draft and plans to forgo his remaining eligibility, he tells 247Sports.

“I decided to do it because I think my game isn’t NBA ready, but I have the potential to be NBA ready,” Williams explained. “I think with development and support and everything else on that level, I can eventually can be a really good NBA player.”

That’s an interesting self-assessment – one more players should take. Williams has the tools to project as a mid-first-round pick. As he said, he needs to develop. But he can do that while earning an NBA salary rather than being stuck in the NCAA’s cartel system. There’s no good case that college teams develop young players better than NBA teams, anyway.

It’s unclear whether Williams (6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan) will settle in as more for a small forward or power forward. Probably power forward. But if his ball skills develop, he has potential as a small forward, a position in higher demand around the league.

As the NBA has embraced smaller lineups, rim protection – once more of a shared frontcourt responsibility – has increasingly fallen onto centers. Williams would help from either forward spot. He’s an energetic and athletic defender with good timing for blocking shots.

He needs work as a shooter. Williams has shown some ability running pick-and-rolls and creating mid-rangers for himself off the dribble. But he’s not consistent enough, and he’s far too poor of a distributor to have the ball much. His best offense comes when opportunistically taking advantage of his athleticism with cuts and alley-oop finishes.

Still, Williams shows enough flashes of more offensively to be intrigued. His defense is already more developed.

That combination is why he can feel confident about getting drafted high enough to enjoy the spoils of NBA life.

Rumor: Nets will try to trade young talent for third star

Nets Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Taurean Prince
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The Nets have it all on paper.

Stars (Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving). Quality younger players (Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen). Draft picks (net even on future first-rounders).

But Brooklyn’s road from upstart contender has been rocky.

Irving tested the Nets with his moodiness before the season. He also called it “glaring” Brooklyn needed roster upgrades. The Nets fired Kenny Atkinson, who had proven adept at player development but evidently never connected enough with Durant and Irving.

How will Brooklyn take the next step?

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

I believe they’ve telegraphed that they intend to try to use some of their young talent to acquire a third star along Kyrie and Durant. Now, we can get enter a healthy debate here about whether Caris LeVert is that third star, and they may make the decision that he is. But my feel and reading the tea leaves, paying attention to what Sean Marks has said and also being aware of some conversations that they had at the trade deadline, which was some sticking the toe in the water on some things, I think that they are going to swing for the fences whenever the offseason comes.

I also believe the Nets will try to trade for a third star. It’s the natural direction of a team that just signed two stars, and Irving appears antsy.

But I’d also caution: Every team wants another star. Brooklyn engaging teams about their stars before the trade deadline isn’t necessarily telling. It could be easy to overstate the significance of those conversations. It depends on their tenor.

That said, the Nets have expendable assets to make better offers than many other teams.

Dinwiddie hasn’t clicked on the court with Irving in two-point guard lineups. Best with the ball, LeVert is somewhat redundant with Durant and Irving. Allen has been repeatedly slighted in Brooklyn, most recently losing his starting job to DeAndre Jordan (Durant’s and Irving’s friend).

Yet, Dinwiddie, LeVert and Allen are all talented with potential to perform even better elsewhere. That ought to intrigue other teams.

Star trades usually require a disgruntled star. Teams rarely move a star without an internal push, including an approaching free agency. There’s no obvious target right now.

But expect the Nets to be on the prowl.

Tokyo Olympics rescheduled for July/August 2021. Will they include NBA players?

USA Basketball Olympics
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The Tokyo Olympics were postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving questions about NBA players participating.

OlympicTalk:

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have been rescheduled for nearly one year later with the Olympics set for July 23-Aug. 8, 2021.

That’s typically during the NBA offseason, but the NBA is also paused due to the coronavirus. Who knows how the league’s calendar will look when play resumes?

Still, these seem like good dates for getting NBA players into the Olympics. Even if the NBA playoffs are ongoing, eliminated players could participate in the Olympics.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich still plans to coach Team USA. But, one way or another, USA Basketball should rethink its roster strategy.