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Mark Cuban would like to see NBA age limit increased, too

Apr 6, 2012, 1:14 PM EDT

Mavericks owner Cuban waves to fans before the start of Mavericks versus 76ers NBA basketball game in Philadelphia Reuters

A. Owners love the idea of a higher age limit in the NBA — it gives them more time to see how a player matures, allows more time to scout them so taking the player is less of a gamble, and it lets the NCAA do a couple years of marketing to create names for players that the league can then capitalize on.

B. Mark Cuban is an NBA owner. Fairly outspoken one

So A+B= Cuban favors raising the age limit. He’d like it at three years, actually. Shocking.

For once we found something where Mark Cuban and David Stern agree. From the Dallas Morning News:

“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.”

You are ruining a kid’s life by drafting him in the first round and giving him some guaranteed millions? Even if he is a bust he should be set for life (many aren’t, but that’s not about a year in college because plenty of four-year players blew their NBA paychecks).

Drafting a kid out of high school is hard because, well, predicting what any 18-year-old will be like in five years is a crapshoot.

But I think if you are 18 and you are old enough to get married or join the army or do anything else with your life you should be able to play in the NBA if you are good enough. Is there really a reason that the LeBron James/Kobe Bryant/Dwight Howard type players have to go to college other than the owners don’t like the risk?

I’d still prefer a baseball style system — NBA teams can draft a guy out of high school but if he does go to college he needs to stay two or three years. It’s not a perfect system either, but it’s better than one-and-done.

  1. glink123 - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    valid theory, but for every Kobe or LeBron who thrives in the NBA, there are 50 players who are gone from the league after their rookie contract expires. Sure, they might have a contract that pays them $12 million over those first 3 or 4 years, but Uncle Sam takes half of that for taxes. Then the remaining $6 million is used to buy mom and dad a house, then buying themselves a house, maybe two or three cars (think Mercedes CL63AMG here). Then there’s the required bling, and new wardrobe, and obligatory home theater setup (complete with 100-inch HDTV). That leaves about $4 million over 4 years, of which half of that typically goes to “make it rain” in the clubs, and to pay off the inevitable half-dozen or so baby mommas that prey on these 18 year old millionaires. By the time they reach 22, they are out of the league, unemployed, no education, no degree, still owing $50,000 a month in child support for the next 14 years, and used to living on $25k a month in “flash cash”. So they do the only thing they can to make that kind of cash. The sell drugs. So yeah, if two more years of college ball helps those who “aren’t LeBron or Kobe” land in their feet with a $75k a year job after their rookie deal ends, why is that such a bad thing?

    Perhaps if the NCAA used some of their $14 billion dollar annual March Madness haul on giving these kids some type of monthly stipend so they can take a girl on a date, fly home to see their parents, buy some gas for a car, then they might be inclined to spend two more years in college. People tend to forget that NCAA rules PROHIBIT these players from having a job while on scholarship. Zero income. The last time I checked, not every player goes to Duke, and has parents able to send junior $2500 a month to live on. The OVERWHELMING majority of these players (the ones who are NBA-caliber) come from single-parent families, living on public-assistance of $15k a year or less.

    …and THAT is a problem.

  2. pbanach01 - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    I agree it is tough to see kids basically lose their dreams and lives by not getting drafted or not working out in the NBA because they were too young and raw etc. I think two years would be a good limit because three is too many. But this was posted on like 2-3 days ago I believe? So this is news or….I think yahoo might have ran this story before pbt and we allllll know about yahoo and Chris Chase articles. They pump out stories like 4 days after they happen. I love pbt and come here for breaking news but come on man!

  3. bdoubleoey - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    U cant drink when ur 18. And having an some schooling has never been a bad thing. Frankly I dont care, but I see their side.Rex, just like the guy u r pretending to be, ur an idiot. AP donates and works with many charities. Have u never heard of boosters? many rich ex students give money to their schools. And if u actually saw in the article alot will go to starting a scholorship, which usually goes to students who can go to Oklahoma but can aford it. So ur and idiot and AP is a stand up person. Great Job AP, look forward to seeing u run over defenders again soon.

  4. bdoubleoey - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    they cant drink at 18. and going to school has never been a bad thing. I could care less, but I do see their side

  5. illegalblues - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    i have a hard time believing that it’s OK for a kid to become a soldier before he can become a pro basketball player. screw the NCAA, i’m sick of seeing them make cash off of free employees.

  6. gmsalpha - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    The baseball system has by far the best rules for the draft. If a kid can go from H.S to the NBA, good for him. If not, two year minimum in college.

    Makes me wonder about Kentucky though. They already may have six 1st rounders. If five have to stay AND they bring in a top 5 class, there’s not enough minutes to go around. It could actually make Calipari’s job harder to juggle ten All-Americans who all want exposure and playing time.

  7. dsimp724 - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    I wish someone ruined my life when I was 18… PLEASE. They could care less about riining their lives… Frauds

    • iamanidiotfan - Apr 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      I think Helin nailed it. Making the players stay for two or three years reduces the team’s risk because they can better predict how a player will mature. If you buy the notion of a player’s brand, that brand can be built in the NCAA for free.

      Thabeet is a perfect example of this; they looked at size and “potential” and he was drafted second overall. Had Thabeet had another two years at UConn, they could see whether he would continue to progress or whether he topped out on his development. He’d be able to get the game time needed for them to make a much more accurate assessment.

      It’s no surprise then, that both Stern and Cuban agree. It’s better for the NBA to have more polished players enter the league and it reduces the risk to team owners by having more time to assess and evaluate players. But admitting to that level of naked self-interest is not going to happen; it’s really about the kids!

      • KIR - Apr 6, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        Thabeet played three years at Uconn

  8. sndvl99 - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    The NBA is a private business. If they collectively bargain an age limit, then a high schooler does not have a right to play in the NBA. The author’s military analogy has no merit and is frankly a stupid comparison.

  9. slippyal2 - Apr 6, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Develop a proper farm system like they do in Hockey. Basketball is played around the world, you are not ruining a player’s life if he can’t cut it in the NBA.

  10. losangelasbasketball - Apr 6, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    NBA has 19 year olds playing with guys in the their late 30’s…. that is a huge age disparity… imagine stepping into a locker room at 19 and trying to connect with Kobe Bryant who has 5 rings, shoe contracts, kids, divorced… etc
    Raise it up… close the disparity…

  11. lakerluver - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Hey, @losangelesbasketball, last I heard Kobe was still married. Do your research, Bro. The NBA should NOT have an age restriction, period. Basketball players in Europe are playing professionally at 15 or 16.

  12. wizfan90 - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    I think that the nba should probably switch to the baseball system i think that the argument that people who have the right to vote should have the right to play in the nba. I dont think that playing in the nba is a right its a privilege, furthermore the nba is a private company and has the right to create requirements for athletes to join just like in any other business.

  13. glink123 - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    …then after they get good enough to play in the NBA, we draft them when they’re 20.

  14. lakerluver - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    If a kid is good enough at 17 or 18 to play professionally why should the NBA stop him? Where is the outrage over 16 yr old tennis pros? Why don’t we insist on an age limit for soldiers instead of sitting by idly while they get killed at 18 or 19? How can a kid be old enough to die in a meaningless war but not old enough to play a game professionally? So what if they flame out in the NBA. There’s plenty of money to be made playing in other countries.

  15. glink123 - Apr 7, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    I guess I see your point. The only way they can realistically keep these kids out of the league and in school for 3 years is going to be if they pay them. If they paid them $2,500 a month, they might stay.

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