Making Money in Basketball….

So you want to be in the basketball business but cant afford an NBA team. Well guess what ? There is never going to
be a better time to own a minor league basketball team than there is now. IF and only if you follow my nifty little
handbook on how to make money at it.

Before you ask, I cant own a minor league team not associated with the NBA. I couldnt start or buy a CBA, ABA,
etc team. I could get an NBDL team, but what Im about to tell you is not allowed in the NBDL. As a result, what I am
about to tell you is of no use to me as long as I own the Mavs.

If you currently own a minor league team, this applies to you as well. Its simple. Not easy. Simple.

Not cheap, but the upside is big.

Currently in minor league basketball in the US, the leagues pretty much try to copy the business of the NBA. Tickets.
Sponsors. Sell entertainment at the games. Fun family entertainment. All of which are nice and important. None of which
will make you big money in the minor leagues.

The money comes from copying the player development and contractual relationships of foreign leagues. They are in the
business of developing and selling players. So should every minor league team. So in short in simple terms, here is
what minor league teams should be doing.

1. Sign up high school kids. Work with their parents. Pay their parents. Add high school kids as young as you
can sign them up. Not after they graduate. WHILE they are in high school.

2. Copy the contractual structures of the European leagues. When a player comes from a European team to an NBA team,
that team can pay 350k for the contract of the player (More if the NBA team is under the cap). Plus, the player (or
team if under the cap), can be responsible for a buyout. Paul Gasol, when he signed with the Grizzlies was supposed to
have at least a $1.5mm buyout from his team in Spain. Its been reported that he paid the buyout out of the salary
he receives from the Grizz. Good deal for Pau. Great deal for his former team. They developed him and got paid for
it.

I dont know if Tony Parker had a buyout he had to pay himself, but his team signed him at 14 or 15 and developed him
and probably got at least 350k from the Spurs. Again, good for the team.

What makes the timing particularly good for the minor leagues to get in the player development is not the NBA age
limit. That is irrelevant. What makes the timing good is how messed up AAU , High School and NCAA basketball are.

AAU is like a meat market at the top levels. A brothel with pimps might be a better description, but it comes
down to who can get who paid by who at a far bigger premium than how to develop boys into men and into basketball
players.

What is worse, is that the only reason the AAU brothel exists is because High School summer rules
are ridiculous. In trying to not give any one team a competitive advantage, and who knows whatever else
they are trying to accomplish, they turned lose the pimps on their most talented kids.

And then there is the NCAA. Has there ever been a more hypocritical, half ass backward organization when it comes to
“trying to protect the student athlete “?. America is the home of the American Dream where with hard work and
initiative you can be anything you want, unless you want to be an athlete. For athletes in NCAA schools, its more
like communist Russia where they assign a 4 year plan and so many work rules you expect Lenin to show up on the
court with a whistle and a compliance officer.

One summer I went to IU to visit . I wanted to meet then Coach Davis and wanted to see how things were done. I
couldnt believe what I sayw. “Work Rules” that limited the number of players on the court to 4 at a time. Number of
coaches on the court. Length of time on the court. The message was… “we all know the rules are stupid, but they
are the rules”. Ridiculous.

All of this has created a golden opportunity if done right. Here is how to do it right.

1. Signing and preparing the kids to play bball is the easy part. The hard part is making sure they get educated,
family support and real world skills. if you are going to make this a profitable LONG TERM venture, then
your ability to sign young players is only as good as your ability to develop young players into men who can be more
than just basketball players.

If they dont succeed in your program, it wont be possible to stay in business. It wont be like there are hundreds of
teams doing this. There will be a bright light shining on those that try this, so they have to make sure they do it
right.

Part of the process is having tutors, homework monitors and counselors to work with kids AND their parents or
guardians to make sure that all involved are firmly grounded in reality.

The truth of the matter is, if you are paying a family who needs it 10k or 20k per year, you have to make sure the
money is spent wisely, including probably putting at least half of it in a trust for post graduation from high school
.

Gauging the impact on the family. How it responds to the money, the program and the responsibilities will not be easy
at all. But if done right it can be rewarding.

The good news is that educators (note I use the term educators) in every city at community colleges and at
public universities can be found to help put together specially designed programs that are tailored to each individual
student. Will this cost you money ? Absolutely. But it will be well worth the cost.

2. This is the basketball part.

Bring in great coaches. Make it their responsibility not to win games against the other teams, but to develop the
players. That is the business you are in after all. Player development.

Bring in great players who may have played in the NBA already, and who want to get into coaching someday. Guys who
while playing with these young guys can teach them on the court and off.

3. Limit the players to playing home games.

This team isnt about winning. Its about profitability and developing young men to be the best players and people they
can be. If they are in high school, travel , going away from home creates too many temptations, and of course they
still have responsibility to their school work. Keep em home if they are in high school.

4. Practice the shit out of them.

Musicians often practice 8 hours a day. Your players will practice far less of course, but anyone outside the reach of
the NCAA in sports that wants to be the best, could work their butts off as long as they could while still excelling at
their school obligations. With enough practice time, you can work on their fundamentals and their minds and teach them
the value of hard work

5. Sign them to multi year contracts

You arent going to sign a ton of players. You are going to sign the best players you can sign. This isnt a numbers
game. This is about quality. Identifying quality boys and integrating them into a quality program. That takes time and
money. Minor league teams cant afford a lot of mistakes. Mistakes kill Euro teams. They would kill your minor league
team as well. So you need time to work and develop them as they grow up. 1 or 2 years aint gonna cut it.

Finally. Think of the impact you could have on the future of sports in America. Competition from minor league teams,
if done correctly and grown over a period of years, could force the NCAA to make huge changes. Or better yet, force the
NBA to buy you because of the quality of work done, and put the NCAA out of business completely.

Now it wouldnt put the concept of college athletics out of business. IU vs Ky, Duke vs UNC would still be a huge game.
Kids going to those schools would still want to play for those schools. The kids playing however, wouldnt be the kids
with the professional aspirations. The sports would be more like club sports where kids play because they want to play
and no other reason.

To do this is simple. The concept is simple. The execution is difficult. Its not a no brainer, but it is a far better
opportunity to make money for a minor league team than what they face now. If Im a CBA or ABA team, Im calling my local
college tomorrow to see what they think and how they mght help

94 thoughts on “Making Money in Basketball….

  1. Being a former player myself gives proof to your theory. I am presently in the Far Rockaway area of Queens, with still a great big heart for the game. I\’ve had excellent coaching in that of Jack Curran, Archbishop Molloy High School. With so many great idea(s), an awful amount of with the burning desire to play basketball, there is little to no money. I have some great idea(s), people who are enthusiastic of carrying out these great idea(s), but short on the practical part to implement them. Practical meaning MONEY. Can you help? If so , what will I have to show and or prove to be worthy of your resources to better my environment.

    Sincere Lover\’ of Basketball

    Pop Jennings
    (718)327-4159 (home)
    (718)787-5723 (cell)

    Comment by Lawrence (Pop) Jennings -

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    Comment by call2biz -

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    Comment by call2biz -

  4. Finally, an industry insider tells the truth about why it is important to develop “boys into players and players into men.” This isn’t just a warm fuzzy, feel good stance that makes for good spin. It makes good business sense. It is a far better long-term approach than the current chew them up, spit them out, and find another one, model that is implemented at every level of sports competition.

    The problem that would immediately arise would be getting teams and franchises to commit to providing quality services for developing and supporting the kids and their families. Anyone can show up and throw up about their so-called services. It takes qualified professionals to conceptualize and design what is actually needed. It take devoted professionals to implement it.

    Currently, it is popular to take a former athlete with absolutely no clinical training, give him (or her) a title, and then say “go run a professional development program.” When asked about such programs, the top brass all say that their point person has personal experience as a former athlete and that makes him uniquely qualified for such a position.

    Such programs are a sham and are nothing more than PR machines. When a player melts down or becomes the subject of negative press due to “character issues”, it is convenient to point to your player development people and feign surpise that you “don’t know what could have possibly gone wrong.”

    If you can get past the hurdle of developing comprehensive support services that are in name only; and, instead, provide something that is akin to what is known in the clinical field as “wrap around” services, then your goal as you described it is totally feasible!

    And yes, as you’ve already asserted–it will cost money.

    Comment by sybil gray -

  5. Mark,
    We had a lot of these teams in the North Carolina area and they drew so poorly. Nobody cared. You’d have a better return buying scratch and win lottery tickets. How many Tony Parkers are there to be exploited? Are you really going to get that much return action on a team? How have the prices of NBDL teams changed in the past few years? better than MLS?

    Maybe in North Carolina, we don’t care about minor league basketball since that’s why we have Duke, UNC, NC State and other schools for. Maybe if I hadn’t seen the Raleigh Bullfrogs go under, I’d think you’ve got a plan.

    Comment by Joe Corey -

  6. Mark –

    Probably your most thought-provoking post to date, and not just because I’m a sports fan. You obviously have a lot of insider knowledge that a lot of us don’t, but I can’t help but wonder how this model could work for other major sports. I agree on the surface that this looks like an ideal model for the “farm-system” into the NBA, especially since the current system is so broken.

    Major League Baseball appears to all ready have a decent farm system in place. Those teams that focus on their farm system end up having big payoffs in the end (see Detroit Tigers this year). The NFL is a little different because despite the crazy NCAA regs, college football is crucial do the physical and mental development of NFL players. I don’t know enough about Soccer or Hockey to have an intelligent perspective (PS, are you looking into purchasing the Pitt Penguins?).

    I guess the overall question is, do you see this as a model for just the other NBA or do you think other, major professional sports should start thinking about this?

    Comment by Brad -

  7. Sounds to me like this would be an excellent idea for sports agencies. They make an investment in the player’s early on, development them, and the few who make it will pay for the development costs for everyone else in agency fees and the agencies will actually have done something good. Wow, a sports agent actually doing something benevolent and good for society? Is that even possible or am I just dreaming? LOL

    Comment by Joseph -

  8. Yes this is a great idea. Playing devils advocate here, what if it actually worked. Then the NCAA and NBA get together, and throw up a white flag in defeat. Then they decide to go ahead and start paying kids in college and allow them to declare for the draft at any age. Then these minor leagues are back to irrelevantville. Either way, this could spawn a lot of needed change in our youth basketball. Nothing wrong with the “white collar” sports signing up kids to golf or play tennis at 14, but lets make sure we educate and make our basketball players wait to make money they deserve. rediculous.

    Comment by Adam Lapidus -

  9. What an idea! Another out-of-the-box notion from a brilliant entrepreneur. The NBA needs to listen to you more; the fresh perspective and innovative ideas are your greatest value and can impact the future of the league in so many positive ways.

    Just think of how better prepared the young men would be under a system such as you describe. Fewer arrests and fewer undesirable (highly visible) shenanigans to tarnish the league’s reputation. Professional players, especially those that come right out of high-school, need life coaching just as much as coaching on the court. Something they don’t usually get in collegiate environments.

    And the NCAA – well then they might correct their asinine rules and start playing the game again. Maybe, just maybe, college basketball will be a sport about the team again, not just a launching point for the standouts.

    Great ideas, once again, Mark!

    Greg

    Comment by greg paulus -

  10. Basketball players are getting younger. There are all these obstacles to get good players. As time goes on it is more apparent there is a problem. What to do? One thing you can do is look at a sport that already has young players. One sport is tennis. Big difference-I know. But maybe there is something here. Originally, I was thinking about Nick Bollettieri’s camp/school where Agassi, Kournikova, Williams Sisters, etc. went or enrolled. It Nick’s idea to have a boarding school that combined athletic training and an academic education into one curriculum. Tennis is an individual sport and B-Ball is not so maybe there would be a way to solve this. What if there were several elite local schools? Obviously, there is a cost for private education, and training, so the student must sign a long term deal to enter for a low cost. The student gets an above average education and B-Ball training. At the same time, with many local schools, unlike Nick’s single school in FLA, the schools could compete. While the schools competed, scouts would have an opportunity to view the talent. “Sport has the power to change the world, the power to inspire and the power to unite people in a way little else can – it is an instrument of peace.” – Nelson Mandela

    Comment by David C -

  11. Sounds like a stretch. Where does one buy an NBDL team?

    Comment by Dan Carbrey -

  12. Sounds like Oak Hill Academy, except they don’t get paid for the development of their players, or at least their not supposed too.

    Comment by David Bader -

  13. 1. I may be swimming upstream here, but I atill want to push academics at the expense of athletics. The NCAA should re-institute the “no freshmen play” rule and make all students, athletes included, have a year to adjust to classes. That would accomplish what Mark is trying to do anyway…siphon off the jocks who view school exclusively as a pro training ground.
    2. Then what to do with cream of the crop jocks? They might skip college, but most of them skip college while enrolled anyway. I would hope they would value an education, but the reality is that many kids don’t, so let’s stop the hypocrisy. So on to plan A…

    The concept of sports academies sounds nice, in theory, but my father, a retired college prof, taught briefly at one of the nation’s private academies and reports that most of the upscale kids had virtually zero interest in study or tutoring. He quit when he was asked to push kids through and inflate grades. Imagine what happens with even less motivated (read: poor black kids) students. I think plan A fails. We don’t want Communist bloc type sports academies with little or no academic emphasis, Mark. The analogy of music or arts academies fails because those kids are almost always bright, goal-directed and able to find alternative careers and sources of income if they don’t make the cut.

    on the other hand… I am a pediatrician in a sports-mad area of the South where I examine at least 3-4 potential division I athletes a week, many of whom are only 12-14 and are already being pursued by AAU types. I am torn…I am supposed to stress academics and the value of study for study’s sake..and I try..but I also know when a mother tells me that athletics is the kid’s only real chance to attend college as a steppingstone to the pros and that athletics is the family’s lottery ticket to financial success and independence, then who am I to question their motives?

    So plan B? I’m not sure. I just wonder….if a kid is touted as a can’t miss, but gets hurt or does miss, then what are is his options at age 21, 23, 29? If you put him in a developmental league at an earlier age, you have just accelerated the process of potential failure (and success).

    You can address everything in life as a business model, I suppose, but that’s not how things in the US work, or used to work.

    Comment by Dan Roth -

  14. The biggest obstacles are twofold:

    1: The amount of investment needed before you even get close to breakeven

    2: Overcoming cultural inertia before you go broke

    Hockey has a similar system in place both in the US and Canada, but it’s a system that’s been in place for 30+ years(in Canada) or in towns where the only outlet for local hockey is the junior team.

    In basketball you have generation after generation of kids playing for their high schools, then colleges. Most high school teams are worthless in developing well rounded players and summer camps are just as worthless.

    So if you start a team in a regional league your budget will be in the neighborhood of $500k a year and will need to draw around 3-5k a game to have a chance of breaking even. Then you have to find towns that don’t have college programs to compete against for the entertainment $$. Good luck with that.

    In Europe those buyouts help keep teams solvent, much like they would do here while you’re building infrastructure from scratch. So if you sign a bunch of 14 year olds to start your program you’ll have put in $2m before you get even a chance to recoup $350 for 1 of your players.
    Add on to the fact that you’re trying to enforce contracts with minors while vulture like Sonny Vaccaro hanging around will mean that you are just as likely to get hosed and this bright idea is suddenly a lot dimmer.

    Now if you pooled invetments with a league under the USA Basketball ageis to aggregate basketball talent @ a lower level, then you might have something.

    Comment by Alec Pappas -

  15. First off, I am very well versed, as you know, in NCAA and foreign basketball regulations. However, I don’t get the purpose of this post. Is it just to help you make more money as an owner; that is, getting better-developed more-skilled kids earlier? Maybe I need to get my head out of the manual once in a while. Second, all this will do is transfer the “pimpitude” from AAU to Player Dvp. This will hurt kids more than help in that only a miniscule fraction will ever make it, and we all know that the “education” you are advocating will never work. As much as I despise the NCAA, at least they are (attempting) education under the purview of university.

    Comment by Will -

  16. Have u seen the 10 year old already being recruited? If I owned a minor league team I’d start with him and have NBA teams drooling at my feet.

    http://www.totoros.com/story.php?title=Justins-Got-Game-video

    Comment by totoro -

  17. WOW!!!!
    a beautiful idea. i hope someone picks it up.this could really save u.s. basketball.

    Comment by yogi -

  18. Your timing is interesting as an article in Fortune recently highlighted owning a baseball team. The ABA’s entry fee is only $20k and operating budgets are only around $500k/yr. Check it out abalive.com

    Mark’s idea is not as far out as they appear. Many European soccer teams don’t win championships, but have a great system of developing players.

    Comment by David F. -

  19. Once again I couldn’t agree more! This is why you are great at everything you do because you emphasize development. Without development everytingwould simply repeat itself over and over. Which is insanity.

    Comment by Todd Johnston -

  20. Mark,

    Great idea. Question. What is the deal with the NCAA? Do they really believe they are advancing these kids by holding them back in this hypocritical system?

    I honestly don’t understand the NCAA.

    It’s a program that acts out of fear, not of building character in student athletes.

    Comment by jon mac -

  21. You are such a trip! This is one of my favorite posts to date.

    Comment by Clyde Smith -

  22. So Mark, put a pricetag on all this. How much to buy the team, yearly overhead for the coaches and development staff, player salaries, marketing, front office expenses, etc. You know all the numbers for an NBA team, how does that scale down to an ABA or a CBA team? What do you think the profit margins and ROI would be after say five years? Is this really a feasible business model for a guy who might have a few million to throw at it?

    Comment by Little J -

  23. Mark,
    I think there are merits to your ideas, but I’m afraid pulling off something like that would require overcoming huge perception obstacles.

    I think the American sports culture and the media (of which I am a member – though a small-fry) tolerates big-time college athletics as the path to the major leagues in a given sport – save, perhaps, for soccer.

    I’d guess that any attempt to sign a player while IN high school would draw scorn from media, the NCAA, the NFHS, education people and countless others. If I owned such a team, no matter how much I tried to stress career development, it would end up no better than a footnote to the story. Because, from a media perspective, that’s not the most eye-grabbing angle. It’s Oh My God, This Guy Is Turning High Schoolers Into Professional Athletes.

    I would be concerned that any tide of negative publicity, and it can happen quickly, would be too much to overcome from a business perspective.

    Comment by Brian -

  24. Mark, great idea, but Dick Vitale is going to firebomb your house.

    Comment by Charles -

  25. Mark,

    Love your idea – as a high school basketball coach who does AAU just to get around the silly high school rules and give the kids an opportunity to play, I think we need to change the system. I see a lot of kids who see the pull of AAU and listen to their AAU coaches and think something magical is going to happen. It’s a joke… Parents pay a lot of money to send their kids to faraway places while their AAU coach whispers in their ear telling them that so-and-so college is interested in their child. All of this so-called development should be better managed with the emphasis on the players, not the money.

    I always thought of your concept as a basketball academy – a school where students lived in dorms, played basketball and studied year-round. I coached in Japan, and there were sports-centric high schools that did just that. If we want kids to be trained the right way, we need to make this happen.

    The main problems I see are 1) parents 2) school systems and 3) a lack of political backing. Parents will expect their players to become basketball stars at these academies, and not appreciate the fact that even if their kid is not playing much they are benefiting greatly from the process. School systems will hate losing attendance money and the benefits of having star athletes on campus. And politicians will never support a process that trains students what they want or need to learn. We should have more technical academies (science, computers, engineering, etc.) but our political and educational system would never support it.

    One last thing Mark – keep up the great work. You are a lightning rod for criticism, but you keep challenging the system and opening people’s eyes to the realities of our world. And most NBA fans would agree, we can only wish our favorite teams had an owner as dedicated as you.

    Comment by Steve -

  26. I totally saw this comming last year when they passed the assinine age rule.

    Mark, your idea is a good idea. Wish I had some extra bucks.

    I know you’re a college hoops fan, but personally, I think the whole NCAA thing stinks. I totally wish for a minor league system to evolve into destroying the NCAA and their system of spoiled rotten athlete-students. Some of those kids, who’ve I’ve had in my class as a student and as a college instructor, have no idea what reality is, and live in an “above everyone else” dream world.

    crash.

    Comment by greg -

  27. Interesting info and nice to have. I think I’m going to get into the basketball business now.

    Comment by Brandon Connell -

  28. Mark,

    What an amazing opportunity! The idea that a driven entrepreneur is able to own a semi-pro basketball team and learn the business by focusing on the grass roots of all sports ownership “player development” is awesome. We should be wise enough to do this in every enterprise….focus on “development” while chasing the big WIN.

    Any chance there is a template in place today (Franchisor) that can help launch this process?

    MFFL,
    -Vic

    Comment by Vic -

  29. Mark, can I borrow some seed money and get started?

    Comment by Scott -

  30. Mark-

    Interesting idea. The best way to make the NCAA better is to offer them some competition and an idea like this would do it.
    The most important piece is getting the NBA to sign your talented players and pass up on the NCAA talent.

    Comment by Antonio Howell -

  31. You Can Make Extra Cash Teaching Private Basketball Lessons In Your Area. I read it in some place, and I think it’s true.

    Comment by Wazzy -

  32. This is a great idea from the business point of view, HOWEVER, unfortunately it will not bring any benefit to the most important parts of the sport: The athletes, in fact, it will negatively affect them.

    With the current systemn as it is right now, with athletes having to go through High school, and then College, for most of them, they are being educated and formed first as integral people, learning to take responsibilities, and study, in addition to their commitment for basketball.

    With a system like the one Mark is proposing, Athletes will never get a chance to develop as good persons. Young kids will grow up knowing that they will get away with not worrying about studying, or anything, and if they play good enough they will be “purchased” by a team, no matter how much education they have.

    Athletes are humans, and they deserve a chance to get an education, and develop as good citizens for the society. They are not basketball machines.

    So, the idea is great for those who want to make money out of basketball, but the players’ integrity is more important here.

    Comment by David -

  33. There is a lot of information out there. Much of it is recycled and outdated. If you want know how to make it in online money then you should totaly check out the Rich Jerk ebook. He also updates the information all the time.

    You can get it here
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    Comment by Prichard -

  34. I need to tell you why the D-League teams want to get on Tv other than NBA Tv they get nothing from the telecast and not many people are going to their games,again the team in my city has a bad arena deal they get nothing for playing in it no parking,concession only the gate and they sign’ed a we will pay you an extra amount for certain dates on the weekend’s deal they lose there you know what.!!!!

    Comment by Macavelli -

  35. They get NBA Tv but it’s not the same I’LL close with this in my city since I’m in television I met with the new NDBL team as they announced they were coming and offer’ed them Tv coverage the team president at that time turn’ed me down but a month later he came back begging for us to cover them since they were only getting NBA Tv coverage the real money in this game in the Tv coverage and if what Mark is purposing then combine the two and you don’t lose money I have operated in the Black for 4 year’s.

    Comment by Digi -

  36. Mark,
    I love it. Sign me up now! Australia, despite being consistently ranked in the top 8 in the world (and no.2 for women) is getting spanked at the club level, and our best players (see Bogut, Neilsen, Andersen) are all playing os, but Euro clubs give us no funds for dev. It’s a hobby to own a b’ball team here.
    The only ‘reality check’ comment I would make is that the clubs in Europe do have revenue as well. In lots of cases they are like college teams are in the States – they are the only pro team in their town, so they get pretty good support, and are able to pay their bills.

    I also reckon you’ve picked the wrong sport – go with soccer – much bigger potential market, and the untapped talent in the US is out of control (and you don’t need to have hops or be really tall)

    Comment by Matt -

  37. Mr. Cuban,

    I have linked your page from my blog for a little over 1 year. I have occasionally stopped by to read some of what you wrote but never really replied because my brain was still processing what I read. Not a knock on you.

    But I was just saying the other night how I thought it would be cool to own a basketball team. And like others money is the question but since you have given such a great idea I have 2 questions for you:
    1. Do you know of any minor league teams that are in need of owners?

    2. Could you loan me the startup money?

    Comment by Sean M. Crawford Sr -

  38. I think the idea of transfer fees as a revenue generating source for minor league basketball makes more sense than the current ticket revenue model in place today (the same model that also increases transportation, marketing and player costs). But I have two comments regarding this suggestion. First, this notion assumes that the NCAA (and CBS) would stand by while the viewership of college basketball games declined with the level of talent. While I think the NCAA is a long way away from paying players, such a model might drive such change. Second, I am not clear on the draft status of these players. Have they relinquished their draft rights in signing a contract with you – whereby they become FAs? I don’t think this is the case. Assuming they must gain access to the NBA via the draft, assuming all first round draft picks gets contracts (which is true) and half of second round picks make their teams (an estimate) your talking about 45 spots per year to generate revenues for your business venture. To turn a profit and generate a meaningful IRR after start-up costs and annual expenses, you’d have to command 10% “market share” at the $350k transfer fees or have 2 players a year command the Gasol-like $1.5 million fee. I don’t think these numbers will happen by themselves. You’d have to recruit athletes away from college, which would likely become a PR nightmare.

    Comment by Joel -

  39. I think the idea of transfer fees as a revenue generating source for minor league basketball makes more sense than the current ticket revenue model in place today (the same model that also increases transportation, marketing and player costs). But I have two comments regarding this suggestion. First, this notion assumes that the NCAA (and CBS) would stand by while the viewership of college basketball games declined with the level of talent. While I think the NCAA is a long way away from paying players, such a model might drive such change. Second, I am not clear on the draft status of these players. Have they relinquished their draft rights in signing a contract with you – whereby they become FAs? I don’t think this is the case. Assuming they must gain access to the NBA via the draft, assuming all first round draft picks gets contracts (which is true) and half of second round picks make their teams (an estimate) your talking about 45 spots per year to generate revenues for your business venture. To turn a profit and generate a meaningful IRR after start-up costs and annual expenses, you’d have to command 10% “market share” at the $350k transfer fees or have 2 players a year command the Gasol-like $1.5 million fee. I don’t think these numbers will happen by themselves. You’d have to recruit athletes away from college, which would likely become a PR nightmare.

    Comment by Joel -

  40. Mark are u buying the pens or what??

    Comment by Nokia Phones -

  41. Like I read all 83 posts, though, no probs.

    The age thing, in view of what ice skaters and gymnasts go through, shouldn’t be much of a prob. Plus, given the success of Richard Williams (and others) and the, perceived to be, declining # of “Opportunities” “in the “Real” Economy”, I think many would/will avail themselves to such a relationship in pursuit of Major League cache.

    I’m somewhat surprised that this idea doesn’t take hold/is applied in “Corporate America”, especially in what’s left of the Manufacturing Sector.

    The NCAA is just another Regulator, and as successful, not, as they all are. The “Market”, what’s left of it, will continue to find ways to come up through the cracks. If not, we will surely slip through them.

    Sorry for all the “” marks, I’ll leave them out, next time.

    Comment by Mark E Hoffer -

  42. I’m totally onboard with your ideas on starting a minor league basketball team and league. However, you’d have a hard time getting enough people with the money needed to start something like this to get on the same page. Everyone is use to the old broken mold that exploits young men and their families. This new mold would benefit both sides, and I don’t know if “the powers that be” are ready for that.

    Comment by Ronald -

  43. Mark,

    Can you own a WNBA team? How ’bout those Lady Mavs?!?!
    :)

    Comment by Don -

  44. Good thoughts, but still somewhat hard to pull off.

    Perception, trust, hard word… time and money..

    Mark, this could be a go, but not simple.

    Comment by Jim -

  45. A GOOD coach is hard to find in the NBA, let alone a GREAT coach. And what breed of coaches would you be targetting for such a league/team? A diagram-ist (i wonder if there is such a word) like Tex Winter, motivation-er such as Coach K, or would you have to find a new breed of coach?

    Comment by Valves -

  46. Love your idea. Maybe this is what American soccer needs to create a World cup Champion.

    Comment by Spencer Hill -

  47. As an owner of a minor league basketball team I have used this concept to some degree I started an independent league in 2002 and then went to just a independent team we televise our games and yes you can make money with a minor league team if you don’t over spend,we don’t play in the big arena I don’t pay the player’s what I learn’ed early on is that the player’s just want to be seen I have had the luxury of having a european team wanting to send me a 7’1 20 year old player who needed playing time he was a back up on his team but before we could finish the deal he broke his foot in practice,my team has been around for 5 season’s now and last season we played at an arena before a NDBL team so scout’s could get a look at my player’s I have what even a lot of NDBL teams don’t have and that’s TV .They get NBA Tv but it’s not the same I’LL close with this in my city since I’m in television I met with the new NDBL team as they announced they were coming and offer’ed them Tv coverage the team president at that time turn’ed me down but a month later he came back begging for us to cover them since they were only getting NBA Tv coverage the real money in this game in the Tv coverage and if what Mark is purposing then combine the two and you don’t lose money I have operated in the Black for 4 year’s. As Don King says (Only In America)!!

    Comment by Macavelli -

  48. The Big Brown Baller
    By Dr. Boyce D. Watkins

    I turned the TV on ESPN
    I saw the Big Brown Baller again
    The one who can jump straight out of the gym
    Who scores 50 points and hangs on the rim

    The latest great athlete of the NCAA
    The next billion dollar asset they won’t have to pay
    The guy that’s encouraged to skip out on class
    To run the 40 yard dash for university cash

    The Big Brown Baller was on lots of billboards
    Coke and Toyota and Walmart and Ford
    I hear the “cha-ching” as the college gets paid
    Just call him piano cause the boy’s getting played

    I’m a finance professor, so I’ll ask like a geek
    How can you put “students” on TV every week,
    as they graduate slow, your cash flow will grow
    And you never give that player a cut of the dough?

    The player can’t show me any stuff that he’s got
    But the coach told me that he just bought a new yacht
    Some jewels for his cat, diamonds for his wife’s ear
    All owed to the fresh negroes he recruited last year

    The Big Brown Baller wasn’t doing so hot
    His mom got evicted, his brother got shot
    The NCAA came and put on the clamps
    When he tried to buy groceries with his mama’s food stamps

    Some say that the athletes should never get paid
    Free school for 10 million? Is that a fair trade?
    If I were an athlete, I would most likely say
    “F*ck you pay me” in a Goodfellas Way

    One thing that I notice for the athletes in brown
    I don’t see many players in a cap or a gown
    Schools make sure players show up for games on TV
    But they don’t make them show up to get a degree

    Some say that the athletes are the reason for this
    When I hear that same crap, I admit I get pissed
    Do you remember when you took Tyrone out of my class
    So he could go across country and throw the big pass?

    If education was key in your time with Tyrone
    You would have said “Miss the game and go study at home”
    But with “voluntary” practices, you already know
    He has no time to study when he’s being your hoe

    Excuse all my French, but that’s the language I use
    The phrase “student athlete” has been long abused
    Their broke families give billions but take all the blame
    When their children come home in a shadow of shame

    The NCAA wear’s suits, but deep underneath
    They’re really just pimps with gold in their teeth
    Making rules to fool fools talking nothing but jive
    To keep their professional sports league alive

    He hit the last shot, and after the game
    The Brown Baller emerges, and it’s more of the same
    The coaches and corporates and little old men
    Stand around him and chant “Boy you did it again!”

    They rob money in buckets and pay them in drops
    There’s a jacking in progress, so please call the cops
    Each time a school makes free millions from play
    They are in gross violation of the American way.

    Don’t believe me, just try it, let the players sit out
    Is a boycott in order? I don’t have any doubt
    Without the brown ballers, you already know
    No endorsements, no fans, no tv, no dough

    Dr. Boyce Watkins
    Department of Finance
    Syracuse University
    http://www.boycewatkins.com
    http://www.blackmanbush.com
    http://www.stepupcollege.org

    Comment by Dr. Boyce Watkins - (guest on Quite Frankly last fall) -

  49. Um, yeah.

    As I pointed out in an earlier comment, to the extent that this idea depends on signing minor (under age 18) players to binding contracts and later selling those contracts to NBA franchises when those players become NBA-eligible, it won’t work in the USA. It will be illegal. As Cuban himself admits, the idea won’t work unless you’re able to sign minor players. Thus, this idea simply won’t work. At least not in the USA. And there are a pile of reasons why you simply can’t transport this idea to a country where it will work.

    Hope this helps. Again.

    Comment by Marv -

  50. “The good news is that educators (note I use the term educators) in every city at community colleges and at public universities can be found to help put together specially designed programs that are tailored to each individual student. Will this cost you money ? Absolutely. But it will be well worth the cost.”

    Interesting. When I was a professor, the only “specially designed programs” were for handicapped students who had an IEP in high school and fell under the ADA afterward. I was an educator who put emphasis on learning. The only educators who can do what you’re suggesting aren’t the profs. It’d have to be the Pres, VP’s, and Deans all in league together to pull that off.

    Ahhh, but I went to Ohio State and do remember the whispers about the “special” dorm food, cars, girls, money, “special classes”, and “special” profs being “in the fold” for OSU football players. Round ball wasn’t quite as important there as football in the then Big 10.

    Football weekends made the academic campus a mad house. I remember one guy saying that he hoped that his education wasn’t getting in the way of their football.

    So, I’m really annoyed and offended by your suggestion. There are few really smart, much less brilliant, athletes. What you suggest is consistent with what I remember, dumbing down education for the jocks.

    tt

    Comment by tiptoe -

  51. The circumstances in how sporting organizations in Europe & S. America are completely different than in the United States.

    Find me the top 30-50 markets in the U.S. that don’t have the following:

    NBA franchise
    NCAA div.1 program

    All of a sudden you list of potential cities becomes places like Yakima, WA and Laredo, TX in population. This is part of the reason why minor pro basketball hasn’t worked all that well in America.

    A junior A style program in ECHL size markets could work if you can get a cheap enough lease to help all these new 4-8000 arenas that have come on line in the last 10 years fill dates on the calendar.

    Comment by Alec Pappas -

  52. I have an idea that may (or may not) enhance the talk here.
    One other plausable thing to do is to take this player to a league outside of the US for a short period of time.
    The biggest advantages are, you will amortize the cost of this player, he can play in a short (4-month) league, and he will get international experience. And you dont need to sign him to a European, high demand league. You can go to places like Brazil, Mexico and Argentine where good leagues exist and they are all willing to get an young American kid who can kick butt.
    This is just a quick statement over what is possible. But the possibility is there.
    Good luck everyone.

    Comment by Marcos Santos -

  53. This is a proven business model. All the European & South American soccer clubs do this. Bigger clubs sign players, develop them, and keep them. Smaller clubs sign & develop players, then sell the good ones to bigger clubs. Why not bring this to US sports?

    It think it would be important to keep this separate from the pro leagues, and not bypass the draft. In Europe, the rich keep getting richer, and only the top 3-4 teams have a chance to win evey year. The draft is an important balancer we have in the US to help more teams be competitive.

    Comment by Vince -

  54. This sounds like a whole lot of work and time for a small payoff. Sounds like running a summer bball camp is where to make the big money.

    Comment by Ben -

  55. Interesting idea. However I dont think that offering players 15k per year will relegate the NCAA to a “club sports” league. College scholarships are worth more than twice that amount

    Comment by Cal -

  56. I’m just writing this to anyone who may be able to answer:

    Just out of curiosity, what are the rules regarding NBA teams and development leagues? Mark mentioned something about being an NBA owner preventing him from getting into this. Does anyone have any idea whether or not there can be any kind of relationship between NBA teams and these minor league teams? It seems like there could be some interesting arrangements set up there. Maybe a minor league team could only deal with one NBA team, and that NBA team promises to help out the minor league team in some way (money, recruiting, etc.). Wouldn’t that drive players to that minor league team and eventually to that NBA team?

    I assume there has to be a number of rules in place regarding this. I’m just curious to see if anyone has any comments or knows anything about this.

    Comment by Mike Z -

  57. Dear Mark:

    First time poster, long time reader. I am a fan of you and the way you do business and run your team. Have you ever thought of pursuing a league outside of the United States? It was just an idea that had crossed my mind while reading. Your description of the NCAA could not be more right; as a college student and a big fan of it, sometimes I wonder if the players were playing seriously while i pour my heart out there for the team. One thing that I found myself troubling over while perusing your post is “finding great coach”. A GOOD coach is hard to find in the NBA, let alone a GREAT coach. And what breed of coaches would you be targetting for such a league/team? A diagram-ist (i wonder if there is such a word) like Tex Winter, motivation-er such as Coach K, or would you have to find a new breed of coach? The best type of the coach to be in this type of league would be a college coach. But again, the scarcity of a great coach is a problem here. On top of my head, I can only count to five great coaches in college: coach K, Pitino, Calhoun, Tubby Smith, and Izzo. (i would love to throw Howland out there since i am a Bruin, but i dont think he is there yet). Please get back to me with what you think about my comment.

    Comment by Han -

  58. the NBDL won’t get the boost from talented players because no matter how dumb these guys are – they still want the prime time attention that is afforded by the college game. Do these guys really want to spend time in the NBDL? Playing in a town that doesn’t care they exist? Playing with the knowledge that they won’t be on Sportscenter?

    As long as the sons of Tark the Shark lurk in the NCAA, these players will have a shortlived home before they leap to the NBA.

    Comment by Joe Corey -

  59. I would hate to have junior high and high school kids lives revolving around basketball already. The kids won’t see it because they are getting to paid to play a little ball but they are being robbed of their youth. You should enjoy high school, and maybe even college, so to make them have to devote their life to basketball so big businessmen can cash in on an “investment” is kind of sickening to me. I would hope we continue to raise the age limit as opposed to trying to lower it. Be honest, that would turn off more fans than it would bring to NBADL games. I sure am not paying for tickets to see 15 and 16 year-olds playing basketball. I will go to watch good AAU basketball during the summer with no other basketball to watch but I wouldn’t when I could watch real basketball instead.

    Comment by Ron Jumper -

  60. Great ideas Mark! I’m looking into a frachise now, and these thoughts will help as we develop our plan.

    Comment by John Longfield-Smith -

  61. I consider that business was successful it is necessary first of all to find in one of high schools intelligent played command. Hereinafter give it all condition for drills. Good sponsorship – a guarantee of the success

    Comment by Roman Puhanov -

  62. by the way do you need a private chef?

    Comment by Jon -

  63. If you really believe that this is a sound business plan and that the idea of mentoring yound atheletes is rewarding (as I do), then step up and take on this project. Just don’t do it in basketball, do it in the biggest sport on earth Soccer. Snag yourself an MLS franchise for $10,000,000 and turn it into a development center for a big european team or teams. Lets not kid ourselves about the MLS at this point it would be an honor if it was a development league. This is exactly what the european hoops teams are doing but you would have the opportunity to add some of the important things with your resources like the ability to mentor, developing and educate young talent from all over the world.

    Just a thought and a dream of mine.

    Comment by g prophet -

  64. Just caught Stack on Quite Frankly with Stephen Ass Whip Smith. Luckily Gotleib was filling in. What a classy guy Stack is. He is humble. Just want to give props to a guy who could still start and average 25 on most NBA teams, for humbling himself for the greater good. Also, the Triple Threat Foundation and PAC are signs that this guy is for real, not a fraud like some stars out there.

    Comment by trey allmon -

  65. Very interesting article. I know nothing about basketball. What I find most interesting is the importance of looking at all perspectives especially when we take our day-to-day for granted. Most people either love the lives they wake up to or hate it. I think it takes a certain briliance to be able to niether love it or hate it but to constantly improve upon it.

    Looking at out lives and our careers from diferent perspectives, and wrapping your fingers around it until the guts come out, is the most important thing anybody can do. No matter what “station” in life you find yourself in. The most succesful people may of mopped a floor once in there life but they also thought of new ways to get the job done better while doing it.

    So I guess aside from from your intriguing aproach to an untapped market where evryone else is following the money.I appriciate the inspiration to not follow the money but to find the money so the world follows you.

    Comment by Jon -

  66. This is similar to (and more on point than) an observation in a Fringe Sports Central column. Their idea was to get a bunch of readers together and invest mutually in an ABA team. You can buy the rights to a team for only $10,000 and for around $100,000 you can afford to operate an entire team for a year. With numbers like that, a team can operate in the black while drawing relatively small crowds. Cuban might have a point – this might be a great time to own a minor league basketball franchise. You can start an ABA team for less than it takes to open a Subway sandwich shop.

    Read the Fringe Sports Central column here:

    http://fringesportscentral.blogspot.com/2006/07/own-your-own-team-seriously.html

    Comment by John Weaver -

  67. Very, very informative. Another well written article. Thanks Mark.

    Comment by Lauren Smith -

  68. Guys from wealthymen*dot*com asked me to visit this site, since I am a big basketball fan myself. This entry is very insightful and informative! I liked the fact that you know how to know both the business and the sports side of basketball. Nice entry!

    Comment by Elizabeth -

  69. I like the idea a lot.

    Comment by red -

  70. I don’t want to make money owning an NBA team, you do that best.

    What you believe, what you know from someone who writes, the impact of perception either enhances or disconnects.

    It’s just an aspect of someone dissatisfied with himself that he should have done more. For the simple fact of who he is vs. what’s waiting to get what they want.

    Sometimes to the eyes it seems one can be your own thoughts and to be what you want yet one waits not knowing the reaction, the quiet silence of will he or do I talk for the “no big deal” computer apparatus.

    What makes it entertainment to the ears, is it entertainment to the eyes or touch, no its a headset, a key board, a monitor. Watch, look and listen.

    As to click, click to read, click to learn, click to acknowledge, click to back away, just click and track along, eventually you find that search engine that places you where you want to be, to find the site, the web page that one stays connected to, Why?

    Some are savvy to phishing, savvy to re-route, reconnect, savvy to slip in & out of a link eventually, it’s time to seek & find the real internet profit without flying here or there. Internet profit to not to walk the talk, internet profit to become the next best product through a middle man or ISP to a customer, no door to door per se, except home page to home page of informaiton to search to seek and find the one thing you don’t have.

    Only to realize there’s so many out there yet the one you want is out or possibly back order or an upgrade to provoke excitement to generate another aspect of technology that creates a niche in the wireless world of statellite dishes to GPS to seconds of location to know more information to improve a trueness of connectivity to elevate one’s mind that the right service to know where you finally click to the right page.

    A consumer normally doesn’t care about cost per click, they just haven’t found what they are looking for and that’s where the internet technology must improve with connectivity with less disruptoins.

    A wireless printer from a tablet, beam your pda to the printer, beam your computer to the fax, beam your pda to the HDTV, while your bluetooth is voice activated, beam your pda to atm, gate codes, to paperless airline ticket counters, etc… to open doors…

    After all how boring are thoughts?
    What else?
    Some times it’s the viewpoint.

    Pleasant days,

    s

    Comment by S. -

  71. Off topic, but I would love to know your thoughts on the sale of the Sonics to that Oklahoma group.

    Comment by Steven -

  72. Believe it or not, this is my short version comment…

    Mark, this can’t be done by anyone other than you. Although your post is appreciated, what you propose to millionaire would-be minor league owners is like asking a non-millionaire to start an HDNet (assume bball market much bigger than HD market) — they wouldn’t have the money/relationships to uproot infrastructure, my man.

    Too many battles on too many fronts in too many entrenched enemy territories: AAU backed by Nike/Adidas and all sports agents, NCAA backed by March Madness $$$ and household-name coaches invested in the system, European owners who would have vested interest to keep lame US system the way it is, and *hundreds* of ABA, IBL, and CBA teams who will try to trip you up at every turn.

    It’s business, not personal — are you sure you want to make that many enemies?

    Best way to make money right now is buy a WNBA or better yet an NBDL team. Once you’re in the club, NBA has vested interest in making sure the property you just bought doesn’t flop. It’s hard work, but more of a guarantee of ROI when you sell out cuz it’s an NBA property. ABA/CBA/IBL have no exit strategy (good move, those 4 CBA teams).

    That’s why makes no sense for multi-millionaire to do what you propose. With minimum age and minor league system, NBA is trying to clean up infrastructure via NBDL. NBA would have vested interest in developing players, THEREBY COMPETING WITH YOU. Nuff said.

    Mark, this is too stressful. Why not just open up Mark Cuban Basketball Academy, 501c3 nonprofit, when you retire from Mavs? Much more rewarding, everybody is a friend, not an enemy. It’s still capitalistic w/ no risk if you consider ROI: every kid graduating at least becomes self-sufficient US citizen if not NBA star, able to teach others same thing, thereby improving US development of players; if become NBA star they donate back to Academy. SIMPLE.

    Comment by onetwu -

  73. as an overseas player I would love to start a program like that :) give me the money and I ll do it ;)

    Comment by hoopnation.de -

  74. as an overseas player I would love to start a program like that :) give me the money and I ll do it ;)

    Comment by hoopnastion.de -

  75. it’s a good idea, but what about the kids that don’t make it to the professional level? by signing a contract, they are automatically ineligible to play ncaa basketball. that’s a huge thing to take away from a 17-18 year old kid who may have had nothing more than a dream to play at a higher level. yes, the ncaa has to change the rules that these kids play under, but until they do, running with this idea is going to see thousands of kids fall through the cracks.

    Comment by Dave -

  76. If anyone wants to make money on NCAA BB visit here.

    http://smartmoniesclub.com

    Comment by Clubmember -

  77. What about young players who don’t develop by age 19 and lose their athletic eligibility before they’re even thinking about college? Doesn’t that rob them of the chance to go to school based on their athletic talents?

    Comment by Chris Clarke -

  78. Mark, as much as I hate you, this concept is pure genius.

    Comment by David -

  79. Mark, I think you are familiar with the league we attempted to start 7 years ago (CPBL – Collegiate Professional Basketball League). It was a similar concept that can be successful. We had all the measures in place to get up and running except for the the biggest one which I see the most challenging. Where do you find your money to get started? This would take a significant amount up front. It was a great experience, one I wish we continued. There would have been nothing better than running a basketball league especially from the ground up.

    Comment by KL -

  80. This is a great idea that will take a huge bankroll to execute effectively. This would have been helpful for me 10 years ago in High School. My High School basketball team was loaded with talent, but the coach was a disaster. A development league like Mark suggests would have made a huge improvement to our fundamentals.

    Vince Carter attended my rival high school and it is a Nike School. VC’s school definitely benefits from gifts and better coaching that is not available to other schools.

    There is a bunch of talent out there that is going undiscovered. Great idea Mark!

    Comment by Port Orange Real Estate -

  81. Gee, Mark, that sounds like the Canadian Major Junior Hockey Leagues (OHL, WHL and QMJHL).

    They sign kids at 16.
    Set them up with pre-screened host families. Make them go to school and progress toward a degree.

    And, for each year a kid plays in a Major Junior League, they earn scholarship money.

    The Major Junior Leagues focus on developing hockey players. Many current NHL coaches formerly coached Major Junior League teams. Patrick Roy is coaching a QMJHL team right now.

    If the kid doesn’t make it in professional hockey, he can use scholarship credits from the Major Junior League to go to college at a reduced cost and set himself up for a life without hockey.

    Hockey’s structure is much better for the kids. Basketball’s structure is much better for the NBA because NCAA basketball is a “free” minor league. It’s exploitive and borderline racist.

    Comment by Scott -

  82. You always give such good advice! However I think the nba is worse than the IRS! You have done wonderful with thw mavs keep it up!

    Jeff Lester
    Dallas Carpet Cleaning

    Comment by Jeff Lester -

  83. Just to comment on a the recent criticism, which could have come only from an accomplished SCHOLAR:

    “for a billionare, your grammar and sentence structure sure does suck…”

    For one, you spelled billionaire wrong.

    Two, when more than one of anything “does” something, the two combined “do” that thing. To test such an off the wall English theory, one might use a plural term. If you’re still confused on this one brett (which wouldn’t surprise me), let me give you a hint.

    “They does suck…” Doesn’t sound right, does it?

    For a critic, who comments on somebody’s English skills, you sure do have a solid grasp of the language. You couldn’t even handle a single sentence. I’d love to read your blog.

    Besides, there’s this old trick that my have been used by one or two successful people throughout history: Hire people smarter than yourself. Mark didn’t become a billionaire for being a writer. He’s a writer because he’s a billionaire. If he cared that his “grammar and sentence structure does suck,” he’d hire someone to write his blog.

    So, Dr. brett, maybe when you’re a “billionare” you’ll outsouce your blog commenting to prevent yourself from sounding like such an idiot.

    Comment by Brian -

  84. Mark,

    Sounds something right up Sonny Vacarro’s alley. A shoe company’s total wet dream.

    Where do you see the progress of a player like Diop if he were in such a system 3 years ago. I remember him playing in an event of mine several years go in high scoo. He was very raw then, but has in my opinion come a long way in his time since leaving Oak Hill.

    Where would be today had he played in such a system?

    Comment by Thomas Leachman -

  85. for a billionare, your grammar and sentence structure sure does suck…

    Comment by brett -

  86. I like the general concept of supporting athletes + their families in return for a piece of the revenue created by the handful who make it as pros. The unenforceability of contracts with minors is a serious impediment, but since the return comes from the NBA team buying out the dev league contract (as opposed to the academy having a claim on a percentage of the player’s future salary), perhaps that would work?

    Maybe you could structure “tuition” for the academy as a loan, forgivable if the player *doesn’t* sign a pro contract anywhere?

    One thing to bear in mind for people blanching at the idea of teenage pros: as far as I can tell, talented players have been paid under the table from a young age for a loooong time. Read Wilt’s first autobiography – he was getting cash & freebies in the 50s well before the Globetrotters signed him.

    Comment by Michael Parkhurst -

  87. What is definitely needed to better US basketball is a structure that can identify and aggregate potential talent at a younger age, then train them to be better all-around players. If USA Basketball doesn’t want to step in to rectify this, then perhaps it’ll be the NBA’s job to ensure the have a steady diet of well prepared domestic players.

    If every NBA TV market had a team/league sponsored elite regional league(For example, a 14-18 league with teams in Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Denton, Tulsa, OK City, Austin, San Antone, Waco) that would emphasize school as well as international basketball but have them playing a longer system to focus their development, as the only way to get better is to practice against better players.

    If you run it as a super cheap alternative that has civic involvement, you’d be running 1/3 of the league for what it would cost for a scrub at the end of the bench.

    When I saw Mike Bibby play in high school it was alternatly amazing and disgusting. Amazing because you could see a kid head and shoulders above his competition and teammates, but disgusting because the coach didn’t bother having the other guys involved in the offense. Bibby’s H.S. years were, IMO, wasted.

    Comment by Alec Pappas -

  88. Go find a NCAA D1 coach who will talk frankly, ask him the process and money needed to get a “top 50″ recruit….it will make you sick.

    And you thought the process was cleaned up…..D1 basketball is way past the cleanup stage, it’s in need of a total overhaul.

    Comment by Larry -

  89. There is simply no way this could ever work. The NBA is making strides by having the new age limit. The age limit in the NFL works and the NFL is doing great. People complained about kids going straight to the pros and now they complain about the age limit so lets just be honest and know that everyone is not going to be happy either way.

    Comment by Ron Jumper -

  90. In the US, contracts with minors are unenforceable. So a minor signed to one of these long term contracts at, say, 16 could just void the contract at the time they turn 18 if they are unhappy with it (or if they just planned all along to reap the benefits of it while they were minors and go their own way at 18).

    Beyond what you paid the minor in “necessaries” (food, lodging, education expenses, etc.), you’re going to be unable to recoup anything you’ve paid them prior to them turning 18 and voiding the contract (i.e. their “salary”). And more importantly, you’re not going to have any guarantee that you’re going to reap the ultimate benefit of the contract(selling the kid’s contract to the NBA).

    So I’m not exactly sure how this concept would work under the legal structure we have in the US. Copying the foreign leagues is all well and good…unless they happen to operate under a completely different legal regime than we do in the US.

    Comment by Marv -

  91. I disagree.

    The NBA should institute a minor leagues somewhat like baseball uses. Each team is responsible for the costs and receives the revenues.

    Expand the draft to 4 rounds or so and let them play.

    There would be interest in alot of these guys as most of them would have been college stars. In addition, allow players on a rehab from an injury to play (Stackhouse getting better in Frisco vs. playing in his first game back.)

    This way, players like Pavel would not have to be “mysteriously hurt” and could have developmental time.

    kinda surprised this dosen’t exist.

    Comment by Scott -

  92. “The concept is simple. The execution is difficult.”

    This pretty well sums up the secret to success in all of life. Ideas as a dime a dozen. They are a like [insert body part of choice here], every has one. It’s all in the getting off your ass and doing.

    Comment by Beef Jezos -

  93. It is a very good idea for someone to make big buck. I think this can be extended to other sports as well.

    Comment by Pat -

  94. I love the idea, most of all because it will get college ball back to what it should be: STUDENTS at each school who also like playing sports representing their school in a game with another school. Right now it is minor league players looking to make it big and being forced to LOOK like they are a student in the process.

    Comment by Jason Tracy -

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