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Steve Kerr: It’s Only Business

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Steve Kerr says several true things about the notion of bumping the NBA age limit up to 20:

  • “The league would obviously benefit by its rookies arriving with a little more seasoning, both on and off the court, armed with a little more life experience to prepare them for the oncoming challenge. A more mature workforce means a stronger league.”
  • “Having an extra season to assess the potential of college players would cut down on the personnel mistakes that teams inevitably make in the draft, something that could potentially save the league tens of millions of dollars every year.
  • “Do you think Tim Duncan or Ray Allen ever looks back at his career and says, “Man, I wish I’d skipped college and gotten my max contracts started earlier!” I’d bet anything that they look at it the other way — without college ball, they wouldn’t have been as good (and would have earned less money).”
  • “Why should NBA franchises assume the responsibility and financial burden of player development when, once upon a time, colleges happily assumed that role for them?”

Tossing in the bit about Duncan and Allen because Kerr doesn’t seem to understand that the 19 year old rule doesn’t force players to leave college; it gives them the opportunity to do so if they tire of playing for free. There’s also a bit of union bashing towards the end; why would an organization like the National Basketball Player’s Association care about protecting the rights of basketball players?  But in general I quite agree with Kerr; it is to the advantage of the NBA owners to force players to work for peanuts/free while they develop, rather than to pay them a reasonable salary for their services. It’s unclear, however, why anyone other than NBA owners should be all that concerned with protecting the profits of NBA owners.

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