Word on the Street: Rounding Up

Word on the Street: Rounding Up
May 13, 2008, 12:41 am
NBA Agents Union Seminar

The NBA Players Association held their annual Agents seminar today in New York City, on the heels of serious allegations made against Rodney Guillory, O.J. Mayo and BDA Sports on ESPN’s Outside the Lines. NBPA certified agents are required to attend the seminar in the first three years of their certification, and then every other year, to brush up on the latest rules and regulations as it relates to the agent-business. DraftExpress spoke with multiple agents who were present, one of whom talked at length about the tense atmosphere that presided over the seminar just a day after shockwaves were sent throughout the basketball industry.

Despite the fact that a large portion of the agent community was present, alongside the people that regulate them (the players association), as well as Angie Cretors, the NCAA’s Assistant Director of Agent, Gambling and Amateurism Activities, the elephant in the room was not acknowledged. The seminar went through the various NCAA rules and regulations regarding recruiting student athletes, specifically the Uniform Athlete Agents Act, as well as the way these rules will be enforced, but it was specifically stated that no comment can be made on any ongoing investigations.

The most interesting thing to come out of the seminar might have been the insight that was revealed about next year’s cap figures and the NBPA’s plans regarding the upcoming CBA. Next year’s salary cap is currently being estimated at 58.5 million dollars, up from 55.63 million dollars. The luxury tax threshold is projected to rise to 71 million dollars, up from 67.865 million this year, and the Mid-Level Exception is expected to rise to 5.55 million dollars, up from 5.36 million. These are not final or official numbers at this point, but rather the NBPA’s estimations, as they were told to us.

Also broached was the topic of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, which will expire at the end of the 2010-2011 season. The NBA has the option to extend the CBA until 2011-2012, but is not expected to at this point according to what was said, partially in hopes of increasing the age limit for players entering the draft to 20 years old. It was implied, but not outright said that the Union’s primary concern will be more on increasing the amount of guaranteed contract years NBA teams can offer players, increasing the salary cap, and maintaining the BRI (basketball related income) percentage doled out to players, rather than fighting the age limit.

Gallinari Signs With WMG

The top international prospect in this draft has chosen his American representation, according to the agency that signed him. Danilo Gallinari will sign with Arn Tellem’s Wasserman Media Group, Bob Myers confirmed to DraftExpress. WMG is in the midst of an incredibly strong year by industry standards, having already signed fellow projected lottery picks Derrick Rose, Brook Lopez and Anthony Randolph, as well as Robin Lopez and Maarty Leunen.

Gallinari is fresh off a fantastic outing in the Italian league playoffs last night, scoring 27 points, pulling down 8 rebounds and grabbing 5 steals in an emphatic win over 4th seeded Montegranaro.

That leaves three likely lottery picks who have yet to choose representation—Kevin Love, D.J. Augustin and Russell Westbrook.

O.J. Mayo’s Draft Stock

If proven to be true, how will the events of the past few days affect O.J. Mayo’s standing in this year’s draft as far as NBA teams are concerned? They won’t, at least according to a handful of NBA executives we polled on the phone today. Some were even shocked to hear that topic even being broached. “Come on man. It’s the NBA we’re talking about. If he can play, no one will give a damn” was the most blunt assessment we got from one Assistant General Manager. “If you’re going to dock O.J., then you’re going to have to dock half of the players in the first round” said another.

Where is JaVale McGee in this Draft?

Possibly the hardest player to peg as far as draft stock is concerned is Nevada sophomore JaVale McGee. Three different teams we spoke to this week couldn’t possibly be any farther apart on where they have him slated. “We have him going anywhere from 7-12” said one representative of an Eastern conference team. “We compare him to Jonathan Bender in terms of his all-around talent level, and also in how far off he is from contributing at this point. He’s nowhere near ready.” Another team in the East we spoke to doesn’t like him at all. “He’s a guy someone probably takes a flyer on in the 20’s, just because he’s big, he’s got tools, and he might end up panning out in 3-4 years. I don’t see who has the patience for that, but maybe you take him for your D-League team, who knows?” A third team basically has him all over the board. “10 to 22 is his range. He’s a pure potential guy, who not many NBA GMs know since he wasn’t expected to be in this draft.”

Hitting the Road for Private Workouts

We’ll be taking in a number of top draft prospects in various cities across the country starting on Friday, when we kick off our private workout tour at Joe Abunassar’s gym in Las Vegas, before heading to visit Tim Grover in Chicago. We’ll also be stopping off at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and possibly in Los Angeles as well. Our trip will culminate at the NBA pre-draft in Orlando. We’ll also be attending the RBK Eurocamp in Treviso later in June, once again.

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