The most interesting news to come out of the NBA Lottery last night for me wasn't the fact that the Bulls got the number one pick. It actually happened before NBA deputy commissioner and COO Adam Silver pulled the cards out of the envelope.
It was commissioner David Stern's comments to ESPN reporter Doris Burke when she asked him about the O.J. Mayo agent investigation.
Here's his reply:
"I don’t know what regulations you are referring to," Stern said. "Those are NCAA regulations and if there's anybody watching that thinks this is a new subject, I have a bridge over in Brooklyn that I'd like to sell them because this has been going on for the last 30 or 40 years."
And the reason it has been going on for so many years is that organizations like the NBA Players Association that claim to regulate agents don't do their jobs or at least haven't given themselves enough power to do what they promise.
Here's your problem, folks. The NCAA is only looking at whether Mayo was ineligible. USC is going to claim that if anything happened, they didn’t know about it and in the end, Mayo wouldn't get hurt from accepting gifts.
He'll just get drafted based on his skill level. And the agent? The NCAA doesn't care about the agent and doesn't claim to have any jurisdiction over the agent. (It's still not clear if the agency, Bill Duffy Associates, was involved, as has been alleged).
What does that mean? It means that technically nothing happened and it falls into a black hole.
I'm surprised that Stern didn't point to the Players Association, who really hasn't devoted enough resources or money to tracking down the moves of agents.
I can't remember the last time an NBA agent was suspended, save for the time a guy got slapped for talking out against the union during a work stoppage. So, if no one ever pays a price, why would agents stop?
The Cheapest Season Ticket
The up to 500 fans who got in on the Minnesota Timberwolves 2008-09 “Pay the Pick” season ticket promotion, which promised to give the fan a per game ticket price correlating to the team's draft position, will be paying $129 for season tickets. After getting the third pick in the draft last night, these fans--who had to get in before the pick was called--will pay $3 per game for 43 games.
That definitely qualifies as the lowest season ticket package ever offered by a pro team. Here’s how it stacks up against other cheap season ticket packages. Note that the worst seat in the house at the Timberwolves’ NBDL affiliate, Sioux Falls, cost more than these fans paid to see the pros:
Sioux Falls Skyforce – 25 games, $84 ($3.36/game)
Minnesota Twins (MLB) – 67 games, $1,206 ($18/game)
Minnesota Lynx (WNBA) – 16 games, $320 ($20/game)
Once a businessman, always a businessman
I've heard executives who just nailed the number one pick telling fans immediately on air to go buy their tickets, but you got to love Steve Schanwald, the long-time Chicago Bulls exec. Schanwald, who was referred to as “Stan” early in the broadcast, not only encouraged fans to buy tickets--he gave out the number for the ticket office (312-455-4000).
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