Detroit Pistons

Stan Van Gundy Says He’d Get Rid of NBA Draft, Make Rookies Enter as Free Agents

Stan Van Gundy, Detroit Pistons president of basketball operations and head coach, addresses the media, Friday, June 23, 2017, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

NBA owners recently passed draft lottery reform to try to eliminate tanking, but Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy doesn’t believe that step was drastic enough. 

Speaking to reporters Friday, Van Gundy stated that if the league truly wants to eliminate tanking, it should abolish the draft, do away with the rookie salary scale and make all incoming players free agents. 

“I’d get rid of it, just get rid of the draft altogether,” Van Gundy said. “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.”

Van Gundy added that if rookies became free agents, he thinks it would open the door for small-market teams to offer more money than those residing in big-market destinations, which would help the league’s parity problem. 

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

Van Gundy also suggested the NBA could level the playing field by eliminating max contracts. 

“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,” he said, per the Detroit Free Press Vince Ellis. “They want the superteams, and I get that. It’s worked well, business-wise.”

As far as the new rules are concerned, the NBA’s Board of Governors passed new legislation Thursday that adjusted the lottery odds. Now, the teams with the three worst records at season’s end will each have a 14 percent chance at securing the No. 1 overall pick.

The team with the worst record previously owned a 25 percent shot, while the second- and third-worst records had 19.9 and 15.6 percent odds of landing the top selection. Furthermore, the lottery draw will now include the top four teams, as opposed to the top three under the old guidelines. 

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