Thursday, April 5th, 2012 at 2:45 pm  |  47 responses

Mark Cuban Also Wants the NBA’s Age Limit Raised

David Stern and Mark Cuban haven’t agreed on very much over the years, but if there’s one subject they’re united on, it’s the NBA’s controversial age limit. Both men want it raised. From the Dallas Morning News: “NBA commissioner David Stern said on Tuesday that he would like to require players to be at least 20, and/or two years out of high school, before they can be drafted. The current rule only requires draftees to be 19 and a year out of high school. […] Mark Cuban says he agrees with Stern, except that Cuban would like to take it a step further and require draftees to wait until they have been out of high school for three years. ‘It’s not even so much about lottery busts,’ Cuban said. ‘It’s about kids’ lives that we’re ruining. Even if you’re a first-round pick and you have three years of guaranteed money, or two years now of guaranteed money, then what? Because if you’re a bust and it turns out you just can’t play in the NBA, your ‘rocks for jocks’ one year of schooling isn’t going to get you far. I just don’t think it takes into consideration the kids enough. Obviously, I think there’s significant benefit for the NBA. It’s not my decision to make, but that’s my opinion on it. The NBA and the Players’ Association had an opportunity to amend the rule during last year’s contentious collective bargaining negotiations. Instead, the sides mostly bickered about how to split revenue, although the Players Association did agree to form a committee to discuss potential changes. The committee, which has only been loosely formed at this point, would likely consist of some owners, NBA Players Association reps and NCAA officials. The collective bargaining agreement that was signed in December is for six years, so in order to change the eligibility requirement all sides would have to agree to amend the current CBA. Stern points out that the NFL requires draftees to be out of high school at least three years. He also notes that the NFL is rarely is criticized for having the rule. Stern and Cuban aren’t often on the same side of an issue, but in this case Cuban shares the commissioner’s frustration that the eligibility issue wasn’t addressed during CBA negotiations. […] ‘I just think there’s a lot more kids that get ruined coming out early or going to school trying to be developed to come out early than actually make it. For every Kobe (Bryant) or (Kevin) Garnett or Carmelo (Anthony), there’s 100 Lenny Cooke’s,’ Cuban said. ‘I think then we just put them in the D-League for three years and then they become draft-eligible with their class,’ Cuban said. ‘They could go to Europe if they want, like Brandon Jennings. That’d be fine. There is nothing that I would like better than to throw our problems on FIBA. Then we’d get some of our money’s worth with them.’”

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  • Bwill

    I agree… too many young kids with lack of respect for coaches cus they think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. It’ll help develop skills/body and help teams evaluate against equal talent. 2 and through.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    What an exaggeration. “For every Kobe or Garnett or Carmelo, there’s 100 Lenny Cooke’s.”. I would love for Mark Cuban to name 10 guys who came into the NBA straight out of high school and were out in 3 years. The NFL is completely different because your body needs those extra years to mature so that your fully prepared to be skullfu(ked by the Saints defense 5 seconds after the play is over.

  • bike

    Well Mark, then don’t draft ‘em until they have been in school at least three years. No law says you gotta jump on them as soon as they declare. Now all you have to do is convince all the other GM’s to do the same.

  • LA Huey

    Mark’s got an ulterior motive, he and Stern don’t care about the players. Besides, if they were interested in what school has to offer, they’d have enough money for tuition when they burn out of the league. If they don’t have money at that point, they weren’t the type of person college could help anyways.

  • EJ

    That’s just crap that players need to develop their body. NHL allows 18 year olds to play, and hockey is much more physical than basketball. Stern’s just a control freak, that’s all.

  • MikeC.

    @EJ – I think some kids need extra time to develop their bodies and either college or an improved D-League would help. NHL has a legit minor league system that allows younger players to play against players at the same development level. I truly believe that someone like Shaun Livingston would have benefitted from a couple years in a college weight room, playing shorter seasons and not banging against men in their physical primes. I also believe that college would have screwed up KG’s game. If he’d gone to college, he would have played the 5. No doubt about it. He would have come into the league less skinny, but he wouldn’t have his away-from-the-basket game. He’d be a mediocre journeyman 5 instead of a mortal lock for the HOF as one of the SF-PF hybrids that have helped revolutionize the game. I don’t think they need to mess around with the age limit much. Even though I’ve said on other threads that I think the age limit should be raised. Where the NBA truly fails is not having a true minor league system where each NBA team has its own D-League affiliate that runs the same system and has the same expectations as its NBA big-brother. That way teams can draft a kid on potential, and let him develop in the weight room, on the court and as a person in the D-League where the expectations are less. Let a younger guy get his reps in, in the D-League and call him up when he’s ready. Send him back down when he’s not. This is why nobody howls about NHL and MLB drafting 17 year olds. They have a true minor league set up to help them get better. The NBA just drafts kids and says “Here’s your contract, here’s a ball, figure it out.” Kids with drive, maturity, natural ability and solid support systems make it. The other kids are Lenny Cooke, Korleone Young, Ndudi Ebi, etc.

  • bike

    There may be some benefit from a maturity standpoint. Kids can do a lot of growing up in three years of college. If, after three years, a kid continually displays attitude problems in school it should give teams reason to be concerned. However, talent always seems to trump everything else. Right now, teams will take a chance on a serial killer if he has Dwight or LeBron’s athletic ability.

  • http://slamonline.com YKnoT

    I’ve had this discussion a lot. Here in order are High school to pro ballers. There are way more who made a significant contribution without squandering their newfound riches. There are more college educated ballers who’ve mishandled their finances!
    Those who did make it:
    Moses Malone
    Darryl Dawkins
    Bill Willoughby
    Shawn Kemp
    Kevin Garnett
    Kobe Bryant, Lower
    Jermaine O’Neal
    Tracy McGrady
    Stephen Jackson
    Al Harrington
    Rashard Lewis
    Jonathan Bender
    Darius Miles
    DeShawn Stevenson
    Kwame Brown
    Tyson Chandler
    Eddy Curry
    DeSagana Diop
    Amare Stoudemire
    LeBron James
    Travis Outlaw
    Kendrick Perkins
    Dwight Howard
    Shaun Livingston
    Sebastian Telfair
    Al Jefferson
    Josh Smith
    J.R. Smith
    Dorell Wright
    Martell Webster
    Andrew Bynum
    Gerald Green
    C.J. Miles
    Monta Ellis
    Louis Williams
    Andray Blatche
    Amir Johnson

    Those who Didn’t: Robert Swift, James Lang,Ndudi Ebi, Ousmane Cisse, Leon Smith, Korleone Young,

  • LA Huey

    This is just the NBA wanting to save money letting someone else develop their talent.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    If the sports that are majority white allow kids to make money as soon as possible, and the sports that are majority black don’t, what does that mean?
    Any thoughts?

  • http://www.slamonline.com blsckvictory23

    Cuban and Stern aren’t racists; but this proposed age discrimination reeks of it nonetheless

  • http://www.slamonline.com blackvictory23

    Cuban and Stern aren’t racists; but this proposed age discrimination reeks of it nonetheless

  • http://www.slamonline.com kingstonx

    Cuban and Stern aren’t racists; but this proposed age discrimination reeks of it nonetheless

  • http://theurbangriot.com The NUPE

    I think picking any arbitrary age is a mistake. Some kids mature mentally and physically sooner than others. If there was an accepted way of measuring that, and IF maturity is the issue, then I’d be o.k. with that. If 18 was the selected age because that’s the legal age of being an adult and being able to check into a hotel, join the military etc, then I’m fine with that. A lot of jobs have a minimum age requirement. I believe the NHL uses 18 for similar reasons. I’m sure there is an argument for 21, since other ‘legal’ items such as the purchase of alcohol were deemed to be appropriate at 21, so I could see where that could be a base for an age. But 19 or 20 don’t seem to have any base from any professional, just seems like Stern made it up. Other mostly white sports like golf, tennis, gymnastics, figure skating etc. are not team sports and the players have to travel with a legal parent or guardian so i don’t think that really should be considered when looking at the NBA (although Hockey and Soccer may be appropriate comparisons). I though don’t think players in either Hockey or soccer have near the exposure and national pressure on them as basketball or football players, so a different rule in other sports doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

  • Ash

    I do wondering about the kids maturity on and off the court. I also wonder if this is becoming an issue becuz of NCAA basketball not being as popular. Also basketball is a lot less physical then football. Huge difference

  • underdog

    Paying college athletes would solve this problem.

  • http://www.yahoo.com berkamore

    Disagree entirely with that new rule.

    The Nupe made a solid argument for a 18 years old age limit. If society considers you an adult by the time you are 18, you should be able, at that age, to seek employment anywhere you want, including the NBA.

    But I think we should be realistic. The real issue here is money. I was watching March Madness and thinking: “Everybody is making money in this business, except the Players.” Here’s what I think: College players should be paid, it’s not right that they generate so much revenue and are not paid.

    And if they are paid, there won’t be that much of an incentive to turn pro early or jump directly to the pros from HS. Besides, cats who don’t go undrafted (the majority of college players) will have some money in their pocket after college. But I don’t think that raising the Age Limit addresses the real problem here: BB players want to monetize their talent.

  • PrickJames

    Poor owners… need rules to keep them from throwing millions at the Kwame Brown’s of this world. Just like they had to change the CBA cause these billionaire owners can’t make a profit in a booming year & need rules to pay over-hyped players less…

    ..Here’s a novel idea, get those general manager guys I hear you have working for you, to hire these other guys called “scouts” to uh, I don’t know – DO THEIR F*CKING JOBS!!!!!

    …And maybe these retard owners [like 'MIKE'] would turn a fricking profit and, God forbid, win games & fans.

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    Don’t think it’s racial; but the NBA is frustratingly full of freakishly athletic talents that can jump over the gym, but can’t move without (or do anything else for that matter) the ball to save their lives. As for the college kids, the NBA ain’t moving… why not wait and get your weight up so you’ll be drafted #1-8 instead of 15-30? Also, your gonna tell me kids in college with freakish talent and full rides have to lift a finger for anything? I doubt it.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    The NBA pays an average salary of 2 million dollars more than the next closest major sport.(MLB) They(owners) are paying a considerable amount more than any other sport. Thus, they want to make sure their product is worth all the money they are going to spend. That’s how I see it. But I grew up in Seattle…

  • MikeC.

    If the NBA had a real minor league and not the half-assed joke that is the D-League, this wouldn’t be an issue. Draft on polish or potential and season in the D-League. Make the draft 4 rounds so the known quantities can be drafted in round 1 or 2 and draft the unknown potential in rounds 3 and 4.

  • http://www.blogspot.com LLC#12

    Out of curiosity, if Anthony Davis (for example) got drafted, had a career-ending injury next season, what provisions would the team/NBA make for his future? Would any of his rookie contract be paid to him in consolation, or would it be insured and he could get money from that?

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    If it’s about the NBA protecting itself, than say that. Stop lying.
    You believe the mostly poor urban workforce that provides you with talent should play for free longer with no protection in order to save you from spending money unwisely. That’s what it is.
    Just like the dress code was designed to make your mostly white fanbase more comfortable with the people they spend thousands of dollars to watch in arenas.
    I hate the fact that they pretend like it’s what’s best for the players. No, what’s best for the players is getting millions of dollars as quickly as possible because any problems that would prevent them from handling that situation are unlikely to be solved in college. PERIOD.
    And hockey, soccer, tennis and golf having chaperones doesn’t have anything to do with it. There are just different rules fr different people because that’s the way things have always been.

  • http://theurbangriot.com The NUPE

    Business owners always want to protect their business – I find no fault in that. The NBA owners have to balance putting the best possible product on the floor with the fan support it takes to sustain the business. If this means not creating or aggrivating a situation where they are ‘accused’ of helping ruin the lives of kids who want to enter the NBA someday, then I get that point. If it means making sure the ‘kid’ they hire is physically and mentally ready to contribute to the team and the image of the league etc., I’m o.k. with that too. Age limits, dress codes, codes of conduct, general ‘standards’ and the like are common in many companies/business/industries including hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, gymnastics, skating etc. While the mandated chaperones have long had their place in skating and gymnastics – when kids start a lot sooner and often finsh careers by mid to late teens. The rules seem to work for them and their fan bases. Dress codes are very strict in golf and tennis because there is a certain ‘expectation’ of the fans and how the athletes carry themselves. I’m not sure what is ‘racist’ or not when the dress codes and conduct codes are created according to what the fans expect or demand. I don’t disagree that the NBA is in part lying about whom they are trying to protect. At the end of the day a business wants to flourish and they’ll do whatever is necessary and proper to be profitable. Regardless of the color of the owners or the color of the players/employees.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com Dutch Rich

    I’m for 2 yrs in college. There are 2 schools of thought that can’t agree. Meet in the middle.
    I don’t think the issue is whether NBA owners need to protect their investments.
    Nor do I think all these kids need the money, as if a college education is worth crap.
    Once again I feel here that the decision of players jumping is driven by agents who make money on transactions. Yeah those same guys that gave you the lockout and got away with their rep unscathed.
    From a business perspective it is all about supply and demand.
    Let’s not forget either that even though these kids don’t get paid in college they are receiving a very expensive and possibly valuable education.
    Not all kids that come out are dirt poor. The Rivers kid should have stayed for his sophomore year.
    Aaaaaah just saw Fab Melo declared wtf.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com Dutch Rich

    Well at least he stayed for 2 yrs is what I will tell myself.

  • Nails

    How come you people don’t get that the NBA is a business? It doesn’t matter what the law considers an adult. That has nothing to do with whether the NBA will change the limit. Do you think Stern and everybody else is sitting there discussing the “age of maturity”? HELLL NOOOO. They’re looking at $$$, understand what your argueing about. UNDERSTAND FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

  • bike

    It’s an age MINIMUM, not an age LIMIT. The word ‘limit’ suggests that the league refuses to draft players above a certain age. ‘Minimum’ requires that a player not be below a certain age. As far as the owners looking out for themselves (since they lack the competence to draft hs players wisely), why not just admit it? I’m not as p*ssed at the age minimum as I as I am with Stern and the owners’ disingenuous bs. Stop pretending you care about the players’ best interests. If a kid blows out a knee in college before he signs an NBA contract, the league will be happy they didn’t have to pay the kid post injury. I’d respect them more if they just kept it 100.

  • will

    the only major high school flop was kwame brown

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    All these “players need to stay in college longer” people are full of sh*t. F*ck out of here, those clowns could care less about the players, it’s all about making even more money off the amateur athelete’s backs. F*ck Mark Cuban, David Stern and everyone who agrees with their twisted point of view. No one has a problem when 16-18yr old athletes are drafted into the MLB and NHL but as soon as basketball players are involved, everyone has a problem. Reeks of racism to me.

  • MikeC.

    The NBA is a collective of businesses. The players are represented by a union. Those who are not current, dues-paying members of the union are the least concern of current union members. This isn’t a social movement. It’s a business decision. If it must become a racial argument, who are we to say that an 18 yr old black man deserves a greater opportunity than a 38 year old black man?

  • MikeC.

    @ will – Kwame has had a solid career. He’s a bust as a #1 overall pick, but there are far bigger flops than Kwame Brown.

  • Justin G.

    LakeShow, while I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, that fact can be misleading. The NBA has a salary cap close to or around the same as the NHL, but NHL teams are paying over 20 players on the team while the NBA pays…what? 15? It makes a difference, and it’s the same with baseball and football. Paying a lot more players is going to bring down the average. Baseball doesn’t have a salary cap though which is why their numbers are so high

  • RedRum

    I find this ridiculous. One of the greatest things in sports is young prodigies. In soccer you have 15-16 year olds that start and perform. Michael Chang won Wimbleton just barely at 17 years and 4 months old. Do they understand how ridiculous it is, someone to have the talent to perform at the highest level but to have to compete with inferior competition? absolutely ridiculous

  • FnF

    If the Mavs were to get the number 1 pick THIS year, would Marc Cuban pass on drafting Anthony Davis citing he is too young for the NBA? Bow your head and STFU.

  • jimmer

    I think the point is the NBA has drifted away from skills and fixated on athletes, and, as has been stated above, this is beginning to cost them money. I don’t buy any of the ‘doing it for the kids’ rubbish, if that was the case then a college degree would be a requirement for draftees, or early draftees would be made to complete after arriving in the NBA. But I think Stern realises he is overseeing a league with a lot of bad basketball teams that happen to be full of guys that can jump through the ceiling, but not much else. As a basketball fan, I think this is sensible, from a socio-economic standpoint, it doesn’t matter if some super-freak 6’9 guy with a 39 inch vert gets his dollars at 19 or 20 or 16. If you are born with those gifts, and don’t end up a millionaire, it probably isn’t the NBA’s fault.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Of course it is about the League’s best interests.
    Do y’all realize that college scholarships are one year contracts based on athletic performance mainly? Do you realize that being injured does not guarantee you a scholarship for the next year?
    These kids make billions, have no guaranteed education or future job and het paid nothing. And the NVAA and NBA pretend it is best for them. Hell the NCAA just reduced the time allowed for easy entrants to withdraw from the NBA draft to make.it less likely kids declare early.
    It is not about kids or education it is.about making money, period. Everything else is ancillary.

  • FnF

    @Jimmer, yes the commish is trying to protect the franchises from their own sometimes awful decisions but instead of coddling them he should enforce punishments that will cause a greater ergency to make better decisions. Non-winning record lottery teams pay a fine for not being in the playoffs every X number of years. If a team goes a decade without making the playoffs, said franchise goes to auction and the current owner has to rebid for their team. Donald Sterling would have been gone by now.

  • Bt

    How is them playing in Europe different from them Playing in the NBA????

  • jimmer

    I don’t think anyone disagrees with you Allen, that’s how the world works. But it is naive to think that the entire university institution isn’t based on generating as much money as is possible. Without money, they cannot function. They do not receive all of their money from tuition, running a nice little side profit from sports. I can guarantee you that an engineering or medical department at a D1 school will rival any sports team for turnover, but where is the outcry when an undergrad on a scholarship or a postgrad on a stipend loses their funding, and their career with it? These things happen. Similarly, not every engineer will patent an invention, be a CEO or even make even make a good living. Why is it more unfair when a college career doesn’t work out for an athlete? because you had to pay up-front for your ticket to the game, instead of seeing some of the money from your last air-fare going towards a multi-million dollar metallurgy project in the chemistry department, which will not guarantee ANY of the grads woring on it a job afterwards? Universities do not exist as institutions of community care, with an obligation to help young people. They exist for young people with a discernable talent to have a platform with which to further that talent, with both groups benefitting from the relationship. The institution makes cash, produces more research, hires more lecturers, provides jobs in the community, the student, hopefully, gets their dream job and a comfortable, sometimes very comfortable living. If somehow, it doesn’t work out, then it just doesn’t work out, injury, death in the family, illness, whatever. It is not more unfair when it happens to one person over another, simply because the situation appears more straightforward, and because it is genuinely tragic to see a born athlete hobbled by injury.

  • jimmer

    @FnF – That would certainly make sure teams were competetive, but the incentives for GM’s to run teams would have to be really high – player type salaries (potentially very interesting) – because it would be such a pressure cooker no-one would want the job!

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    Because an undergrad who loses their scholarship for failing to maintain their grades is entirely different from a kid who loses his scholarship because he can’t make enough athletic plays.
    See, one directly relates to the proclaimed function of college, education. The other relates to something that is supposed to be ancillary, athletics.
    I went to school both times on scholarship. I was told up front what minimum standards I had to meet, and my scholarship was available as long as I met those standards. Players are given arbitrary standards that can change in a heartbeat if a new coach is hired to replace the one that recruits them. They can also lose their scholarship because they are injured while performing on the field. Something is deeply, DEEPLY wrong with an institution preventing a child from receiving the education that is supposed to be paramount because he or she is injured playing an ancillary sport, or because they have personality conflicts with a new hire.
    My problem with the agreement is the false cloak of goodwill the NCAA and NBA seek to clothe their actions in, and how that is lapped up by millions. Athletes are provided a free education, they are paid in education on a contract basis and their jobs make it extremely difficult for them to take full advantage of their educational opportunities.
    The NCAA doesn’t care about “students” in its big time athletic programs, it cares about athletes and their performance. Otherwise they would mandate that raises, salaries and promotions be based on academic achievement and not simply on court or on field play. I deeply despise hypocrisy, and I dislike it even more when people believe in sad hypocrisy, justify it and use it as a hammer to justify even more heinous actions.
    Did y’all know that many schools actually fought against even being allowed to offer four year scholarships? Not being forced to give them out, but even having that option on the table was fought against.
    So when you have a professional business masquerading as an amateur enterprise and using that amateur status to justify doing things that would not be allowed at a professional organization, such as refusing to pay worker’s compensation to those injured on the job, then I have a problem. A deep and serious problem.

  • Mike Mihalow

    Cuban knows he’s not gonna get any high draft picks anytime soon, that’s why.

  • jimmer

    Indeed Allen, indeed. The apparent detachment of the NCAA from the institutions that house it would appear to be a serious clash. From an academic point of view I was thinking more about STEM postgrads who have forked out 6 figures for UG and maybe MA studies, to be planted in minimum stipend doctoral posts that will add maybe 1-2% to their future earnings, when they could be out earning 3-4 times as much in R&D, but are told by universities they are improving their careers. Regardless, I like the more detailed points given above. The problems you described remain indefensible, but they are fairly close to insurmountable. In order for the NBA to acquire well developed talent outside of this system, it would need a tier-system of development leagues below it, maybe 2 or 3 divisions, but their recruiting system would not have the shiny veneer of free education, meaning the NCAA would remain unchallenged. Unless, of course, these teams were able to offer 6 figure ‘feeder salaries’ that induced players to follow financial sense rather than dodgy academic contracts. Would take a lot of start-up, would have to be immediately competitve and well coached, and would be screamed at as exploitative from many quarters, because it would openly admit the motivation of money over education! Deep, as you say.

  • FnF

    @Jimmer, The D-league could work if the NBA decided to make changes. Have the D-league replace the summer league as well as have it overlap with the WNBA. Teams don’t call up that many people because there isn’t enough practice time. Also, have the 2nd or 3rd assistant coach oversee the d-league affiliate. That way, the D-league is running a similar system actually developing your players to one day move up the ranks. Instead we are stuck with an organized pickup league in which 20 MAYBE get called up. They have to find a way to make the D-league serviceable. Unless a player truly intends to graduate in 1-2 years, the “free education” he was offered means nothing. Let me see Derrick Rose’s transcript.

  • hushabomb

    @FnF. You’re theory only works if a team doesn’t share players. How about D-league teams draft high school kids like they do in major league baseball. Sort of like an apprenticeship. Play in the minors until the team thinks you are ready. Regardless of what anyone says, we all know that kids wanna play pro ball. By drafting kids for the D-League, you give them on the job training and you get paid.

  • http://theurbangriot.com The NUPE

    I wouldn’t have a problem in kids on scholarship got paid. Although, in this situation I would argue the scholarship becomes a bonafide contract that the university owns their rights for the next 4 years. The university can then ‘sell’ the rights to the NBA if that athlete wants to enter the draft, or the university can prevent the kid from entering until the contract is over. I bring this idea up only for the people who say the kids should be able to be paid and shouldn’t have to wait 1 or 2 years after HS to start earning a salary playing basketball. I have no problem with any organization having an age restriction. I also have no problem with contracts that provide payment to athletes in return for their services for a pre-determined period of time. That way, if the student athlete fails to perform on the court/field, then they are still ‘entitled’ to their wage and education (@ Allenp’s point about not being guranteed). In return, the student athlete has the NCAA contract that restricts them going to another league to play until they complete the contract or it’s sold. It should go both ways with a contract.