View Full Version : Just don't mention that kid's name

03-22-2007, 11:42 AM
Randy Galloway: Just don't mention that kid's name

By Randy Galloway
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

All the NBA obviously is talking about Texas' Kevin Durant and Ohio State's Greg Oden, a couple of heavenly freshmen in college basketball, but there's also a huge financial difference between public and private conversation.

Therefore, out of respect for Donnie Nelson's personal bank account, there was no mention Wednesday from me about either player, nor did the Mavericks' general manager volunteer an opinion.

Another member of the family was not as fortunate last week.

"You know how Nellie is," said Donnie, referring to his father, Don Nelson. "Ask him a question and you will usually get an answer."

Big Nellie, the Golden State coach, made a $15,000 donation to the David Stern loose-lips-will-cost-you fund for offering his educated view on the talents of Durant and Oden.

Then there's Michael Jordan, now involved in the Charlotte Bobcats' ownership. He also took a $15,000 hit from Stern for publicly admiring the versatility of "the Texas kid."

Also consider the case of Danny Ainge, the general manager of the Boston Celtics. Stern took $30,000 from Ainge because his spectator seat at the Big 12 tournament happened to be right next to Durant's mother.

How was Danny to know? And the arena was sold out, so it's not like he could have changed seats, huh?

Yeah, sure.

None of this is exactly new. Stern has been leveling fines for years for any NBA type who makes a public comment about a college underclassman. It is viewed as an enticement to leave school, because that's what it is, and Stern wants to keep peace with the college game.

Then again, no one is naive enough to think these players, particularly a couple of red-hot commodities like Durant and Oden, are not being fed all the info they need on their draft ranking, shoe contracts and immediate financial home run.

That's what agents are for, and in some cases, AAU coaches on the club team level.

Actually, most NBA people I know, present and past, want players to stay in college, not necessarily because they believe in the education system, but for the basketball seasoning and the maturity.

However, it would be a surprise if either Durant or Oden is a sophomore by next fall. They would go 1-2 (probably Oden at No. 1) in the first round of the June draft, and the money involved is huge.

The first pick of the draft can be guaranteed about $20 million, with the second pick just under that. But the rumored shoe contract with Nike that Durant supposedly has been offered could double what the NBA pays.

To once again borrow that old Dale Hansen line, if you are turning down that kind of money to stay in college, then you definitely needed more education.

But back to Donnie Nelson, the Mavericks' general manager, who, by the way, doesn't have a dog in the fight when it comes to Durant or Oden, or anybody else in the first round.

That June pick is long gone. Nelson, however, has three second-round picks, and because this draft is considered one of the deepest in history, his priority is landing another kind of Josh Howard overlooked talent.

Knowing that Nelson had been piling up frequent flier miles scouting conference tournaments and, last week, the first two rounds of March Madness, I wanted his opinion on a quote I read this week from R.C. Buford, the Spurs' GM.

Buford told the San Antonio newspaper, "I don't like the [NCAA] Tournament. It's a situation that is set up for us to see how coaches can coach, and not how players can play."

Nelson disagreed, adding, "But I understand where R.C. is coming from."

Donnie, however, called scouting the NCAA Tournament a favorite part of his job, and "absolutely something I consider important, useful and interesting in the overall evaluation of players."

But he also mentioned he had a "close second" when it came to the enjoyment of scouting games in the month of March. And that would be?

"I never have to go to a high school gym again, at least job-related," he said. "I thank David Stern for that. The NBA has no business being at high school games.

"I no longer have to walk into a high school gym, or be there for state tournaments. Until Mr. Stern acted, you had to go, you had to be there to cover yourself, scouting-wise, on players who might be leaning toward the draft."

Nelson added, "I felt filthy walking into those high school gyms. I'm ecstatic that we don't do it anymore. Again, that's no place for the NBA to be conducting business."

Ah, yes. The still controversial Stern Rule has a very vocal supporter in Donnie Nelson. Stern basically forced high school players to tutor for at least a year in the college game.

"The high schools benefit, the colleges benefit and certainly the NBA benefits," Nelson said.

Agreed, even if Bobby Knight of Texas Tech doesn't. College basketball prospered because of Durant and Oden, although it's probably only for this season. Without the Stern Rule, would those players still have played in Austin or Columbus? Maybe, but I doubt it.

As for Donnie Nelson, any reference to Durant and Oden was strictly connect-the-dots on the Stern Rule. Your money is safe, Donnie.

03-22-2007, 01:25 PM

03-22-2007, 06:53 PM
I stopped reading at Randy Galloway:

03-22-2007, 06:54 PM
yea me too. I listen to him because he has more bball on than anyone, but reading him (well...listening to him as well) is a huge whip.

left texas
03-22-2007, 07:15 PM
Nelson added, "I felt filthy walking into those high school gyms. I'm ecstatic that we don't do it anymore. Again, that's no place for the NBA to be conducting business.

So now they will send the "janitor" to watch them.

The Crippler
03-22-2007, 08:32 PM
I personally love watching hs basketball....

I understand what donnie's saying though...talking about it's bad for the nba.