Outspoken Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has a message for 18-year-olds eager to make the jump from high school straight to the NBA: Be careful.
In an interview with the Dallas News published Friday, Cuban said he was “fine” with the NBA’s decision to open formal discussions with the league’s player’s association about lowering the NBA’s minimum age requirement from 19 to 18. But before high school players jump at the chance to declare for the NBA, they need to realize the ramifications of going, in his words, “none-and-done.”
On Thursday, USA Today reported the NBA has submitted a formal proposal to the National Basketball Players Association to lower the draft-eligible age from 19 to 18. The players will begin discussion of the proposal Monday, USA Today reported.
At question, Cuban says, is not their basketball ability, but their life skills. He has seen it with one-and-done players.
“Got here, didn’t know how to write a check, didn’t know how to sign a lease,” Cuban told The News. “Just needed somebody basically to hold their hand, and it made things difficult for them.
“It’s hard to focus on your profession when you don’t even know how to focus on the everyday skills that are required for life.”
Under the current setup, most standout high school players are enrolling in college for one year and turning 19 before declaring for the NBA. The one year in college can serve as a transition for those players.
Cuban’s suggestion for 18-year-olds if the NBA changes its rules: Make the transition elsewhere.
“Go to the G League or Europe,” he said.
The G League is the NBA’s minor league and counts among its alumni Khris Middleton, Terry Rozier and Rudy Gobert.
The injury to Duke star freshman Zion Williamson this week in a game against North Carolina brought the question of players spending one year in college before turning pro into sharper focus.
“If you want the international adventure and the exposure to a different type of basketball and different skill sets, go to Europe,” Cuban said. “If that’s not your thing and you’re not in-tuned to it for whatever reason, and you’ve got a big social media following like Zion Williamson? Go G League.”
The base salary in the G League is $7,000 a month. The G League is a five-month season.
Cuban pointed out that choosing the G League over college also allowed players to begin earning money through ancillary avenues.
“You may be better off controlling your own destiny and taking advantage of the most money because in the G League you aren’t subject to the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement,” he told The News. “You get to control your appearances and your endorsements and do whatever you damn well please in the short term. You can go sign whatever contract you want.”