Matt Babcock: As an agent, I was trained to be aggressive. I’d champ at the bit all year long trying to generate new business. However, for most of the year, everyone would tell me in one way or another, “Hold your horses.” At times, it felt like it was always “the calm before the storm.” That was, until the storm actually hit, and then it would hit hard… When a player’s season ends, agents are asked to drop everything at a moment’s notice to fly to wherever the player, parents and/or “handlers” are and present themselves formally to even have a chance of being considered to represent the player. The travel oftentimes requires venturing from coast to coast, and the trips are usually booked last minute. The expenses rack up quickly. During those times, agents are drilled and dissected. On top of all of that, many of the trips end up not even being fruitful, as it’s extremely competitive to sign good players. Needless to say, the formal recruiting period is stressful and draining.
Matt Babcock: The NBA recently announced that the 2020 NBA Draft, which was originally supposed to take place on June 25, will now take place on Nov. 18. This year, when it’s all said and done, agents will have been responsible for covering their clients’ expenses for nearly seven months, rather than the typical two-month window. To pour salt on the wound, not only have agents been bleeding money, they’ve been extremely limited as to how influential they can be in terms of increasing their client’s market value prior to the draft. Agents are usually responsible for scheduling players’ trips to visit and work out with teams, a process that I find to be very effective to increase a player’s market value (if done properly). This year, NBA teams have been prohibited from seeing prospects in person for workouts or interviews, and have been limited to video conferences — which are not significantly conducive for teams, players or agents to accomplish their short-term goals during the pre-draft process.
On NBA draft night last year there was a collective moan among the Boston Celtics brass right about the time the Miami Heat used the No. 13 pick to select Tyler Herro. Knowing they were on the clock right after the Heat, and seeing what he has done for the Heat both during the regular season and during their current playoff series with the Celtics, can you blame them?
The Celtics were very much enamored with the 20-year-old leading up to last June’s draft, aware that there was a shot that he might be on the board when it was their turn to select at No. 14. But in came Heat team president Pat Riley, sticking it to the Celtics again by not only taking a player Boston had a major interest in selecting but also developing him into a difference-maker whose play may very well spell the end of the Celtics’ season.
The NBA announced today that NBA Draft Combine 2020 has been reformatted to be conducted both in NBA team markets and virtually, taking place in phases beginning Sept. 28 and continuing through early to mid-November. The reimagined Combine will continue to provide NBA teams with player evaluation opportunities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“NBA Draft Combine is an essential part of the pre-draft evaluation process,” said Byron Spruell, President, NBA League Operations. “While the circumstances surrounding this Combine are unique, we’re excited to creatively deliver a valuable experience for our teams, who have remained flexible through the process, and for prospective draftees who are just beginning their NBA journeys.” NBA Draft Combine 2020 will give players the opportunity to participate in league and team interviews, both conducted via videoconference from Sept. 28 through Oct. 16. Players will also take part in an individual on-court program consisting of strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, shooting drills and a “Pro Day” video, all conducted in October at the NBA team facility nearest to a player’s home or interim residence. Medical testing and examinations will be performed by NBA-affiliated physicians in the same market.
Victor Wembanyama discussed his NBA aspirations with Le Parisien. Early projections regarding the 2023 draft rank the 16-year-old French center first. “My goal is to go to the NBA,” explained the exciting Nanterre 92 prospect, “I want to be as good as possible. That’s my mentality. I don’t want to simply supplement a team. I don’t like having someone above me. I don’t want to prove something but I also don’t want to disappoint myself.”
The Cavs will be active this offseason. They will explore trade opportunities, using the No. 5 pick as bait. Sources say owner Dan Gilbert will allow the front office to take on future salary — if the move makes sense and the piece coming back significantly improves their chances either in the short or long term. But activity doesn’t always lead to action.
New Kings general manager Monte McNair has plenty of tough decisions to make when it comes to the future of the franchise. One has to be when to get De’Aaron Fox’s contract extension done. The expectation has been Fox will be offered an extension worth the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, making him the first Kings draft pick since DeMarcus Cousins to even be considered for a max extension.