SBD/April 5, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NBA Draft Prospects Uncertain About Declaring Amid Labor Negotiations

Streeter Lecka
Walker says potential for NBA lockout will not play role in his Draft decision
An NCAA spokesperson said that he “was not aware of any discussion to extend the deadline for players declaring for the NBA Draft to alleviate the uncertainty associated with the NBA labor situation,” according to Viera & Thamel of the N.Y. TIMES. Underclassmen who submit their names for the NBA Draft by the April 24 deadline have until May 8 “to withdraw their names and retain their eligibility, unless they sign with an agent.” As underclassmen “weigh the consequences of leaving early, some college coaches, NBA front-office members and agents do not seem exactly sure how, and to what extent,” the upcoming NBA CBA negotiations will affect the draft class. Univ. of Georgia coach Mark Fox: “I had one NBA guy tell me that anyone that is a bubble guy, the lockout should pop everyone’s bubble. Those guys are a risk anyway. Put this factor into the mix, and it’s just too volatile.” UConn G Kemba Walker, a junior, said that the “specter of a lockout would not play a role in his decision.” Walker: “I haven’t given it any thought at this point. But I’m very aware of the NBA lockout. It wouldn’t affect my chances of going. It just depends on what my stock is like and stuff like that.” But agent Mark Bartelstein said, “It will have an effect, and it should have one.” Meanwhile, Butler coach Brad Stevens “wondered if the unclear situation might cause a reverse pendulum effect.” If more players “do not enter the draft because of the uncertainty, it could present an opportunity for others to leave early and benefit from a watered-down draft pool” (N.Y. TIMES, 4/5).

BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL: ESPN's Doug Gottlieb said more players will remain in college next season because of labor uncertainty in the NBA. Gottlieb: "College players now, even from the time they're in high school, understand all the ramifications of their actions. They're much better educated on the NBA and they know what we've been saying on ESPN is what agents are telling college coaches, what NBA personnel are telling college coaches and frankly, telling their families. There is going to be a lockout" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/5). Univ. of North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams, who is meeting today with underclassmen Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller to discuss their plans for next year, said, "There's no question the scenario is a little different this year because of the mood of the NBA and the collective bargaining agreement" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 4/5).

LOCKOUT LOOKING INEVITABLE: ESPN’s Ric Bucher reported there is “no question that we are going to have an NBA lockout.” Sources for both the league and the NBPA said that in order to “have a deal in place by July 1, they essentially have to have that deal negotiated by the end of the regular season.” Bucher: “That quite clearly is only about a week away and that's not going to happen. So a lockout will begin and nobody is counting on a summer league." If the two sides "can get a deal in place by July 1, then we have a chance of starting training camp on time" but "nobody is really anticipating that." He added, "The expectation is that we are going to miss games because the owners are asking for such draconian changes that they want to put the pressure on the players. The players don't get their first check until November 15, so they don't feel the pinch until you start missing regular-season games. With what the owners are asking, they are going to have to feel not just a pinch, they're going to have to feel a dagger for them to accept what the owners want them to accept" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/5). Galatioto Sports Partners President Sal Galatioto said, "I've never seen the owners more united, and I believe the owners will do what it takes to get a reasonable economic deal" ("Strategy Session," CNBC, 4/4).
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