This fall, hundreds of college basketball players will suit up in their goal of helping their respective teams advance to the NCAA tournament to pursue dreams of a national championship. Out of those, many also have further ambitions of joining the ranks of the NBA and extending their basketball careers for some time. Yet ESPN's Chad Ford has posted an article today with news that might change those plans: the NBA Draft as we know it might not happen next June.
The NBA lockout is affecting all things basketball at this point, and many are predicting that the upcoming 2011-12 season will be completely lost. The communication has not been good and the developments in negotiations make the NFL's lockout seem like a small sibling rivalry. The owners have everything to gain here and the league is so out of alignment that only severe shifts in thinking will set it right. And that means things will take a while.
Ford estimates that they might take so long that the negotiations will still be in play next summer, which knocks out the NBA Draft. While the NFL Draft continued in spite of the lockout, the NBA lacks such a provision since there would have been no season played beforehand. The NFL had an official draft order, one thing that Ford notes would keep the NBA from being able to compile a list fair enough for all teams to sign off on it. They're also not allowed to communicate with players and, he assumes, incoming NBA players. If the negotiations are still that chilly, there's a chance the owners would freeze all action having to do with the NBA.
Ford's column is a worthy read for the arrangements he offers that might make things fair for all involved. He also has some great quotes from GMs on the situation at hand. Yet it's interesting to consider that the NBA would allow things to get so bad in the first place. Certainly that affects current Kansas, Missouri or Kansas State players who are hoping to showcase their wares for pro potential this season. If there's no NBA Draft ahead, certainly that could hurt the morale of hopeful players this winter.
Here's hoping those arguing can come together in a meaningful way to keep the NBA afloat in a workable way. After all, it's a shame that innocent college players have to pay the price of their NBA dreams for the sake of a dysfunctional structure already in place.