Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy: Eliminate NBA draft, max contracts


Stan Van Gundy doesn’t have a strong opinion about lottery reform.

But he does have ideas on how to improve the NBA that go beyond addressing tanking.

But if the league truly wants to create more parity, the Detroit Pistons team president and coach proposed radical changes Friday after the Pistons’ practice.

Eliminate the draft and maximum contracts.

“I’d get rid of it, just get rid of the draft altogether,” Van Gundy said when asked lottery reform. “We’d just deal with the salary cap. Make all (rookies) free agents coming in and if I want to go give a guy $50 million a year, good, but I got to do it under the cap.

“I think if you did that and you had no individual max on players, we’d start to get some parity in the league, but the league really doesn’t want parity. They want the super teams, and I get that. It’s worked well, business-wise.”

By a 28-1-1 vote (the Pistons voted yes), the NBA Board of Governors approved draft lottery reform Thursday in an attempt to curtail tanking.

The three highest lottery seeds will now each have a 14 percent chance of getting the top pick, and each team slotted 4-14 will now have a slightly higher chance of winning the top spot than before. The number of picks determined by the lottery will also increase from three to four.

The system begins with the 2019 draft.

Back to Van Gundy’s ideas.

He admits there are probably unintended consequences, but it’s clear he has thought a lot about the subject.

Wouldn’t the top rookies flock to the destination markets?

Not if those destinations are near the cap and can only offer substantially less than a team with significant cap room.

“They say everybody would want to go to L.A., well how much money are they going to give up to go to those places?” Van Gundy said.

Van Gundy’s idea takes a sledgehammer to the current setup where the top players and young players under rookie scale deals have salaries artificially depressed, leaving a huge slice of the pie for mid-tier veterans.

Van Gundy said the existence of maximum contracts creates super teams, like the Golden State Warriors.

Superstar Kevin Durant was praised this summer when he took “less” in accepting a two-year, $51 million contract to remain with the Warriors, leaving $9 million on the table this season.

But without max contracts, Durant could easily get a deal worth north of $40 million per season.

“Is he (Durant) going to give up $25 million a year to keep the team (Warriors)…


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