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Update on Rubio, the cap, and 2012

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As you may remember, earlier this week a fanpost linked to an ESPN article about the CBA and the possibility that Ricky Rubio may have a greater financial interest to enter the NBA in 2012 at age 21 than he does in 2011 at age 20. 

What was interesting about this article (aside from the notion that Rubio could be 3 years away from the NBA) is that it appears to have been at odds with Larry Coon's fantastic run-down of the NBA's CBA.  Here is what item #42 of Coon's FAQ had to say about first round draft picks who don't immediately sign with their team (H/T to MNSportsFans's Wolves board):

When a team signs a first round draft pick in a year other than the year in which he was drafted, the player is signed using the salary scale for the year in which he is signed, not the year in which he was drafted. An exception to this is for players drafted prior to 2005, under the previous CBA. These players may be signed according to the rules for scale contracts set forth in the previous CBA, including three guaranteed years plus one option year, at the scale salary for the year in which the player was drafted.

Thankfully, Larry has a Facebook page where he takes questions from readers (if you aren't, you should be as his page is fantastic) and I submitted the following:

Larry, ESPN is reporting that should Ricky Rubio play 3 years in Europe he would not be subject to the typical rookie scale salary if he came over to the Wolves in 2012, rather than 2011. This seems to be at odds with item 42 on your FAQ and I am wo...ndering if you could provide some insight as to whether or not this is true; i.e. Rubio has a large financial incentive to come over in 2012 rather than 2011.

I quickly received the following reply:

I was composing a long reply explaining how Chris must not have considered Article X, Section V (which covers draft picks signing pro contracts outside the NBA), before realizing that section only covers draft and negotiating rights, and not the kind of contract the player can sign.

Chris is right in that Article VIII Section 3 says that after ... Read Morethree years, an unsigned draft pick may sign either: A) A rookie scale contract; or B) A contract for 3+ years using the team's "room" (cap room, DPE, Bi-annual, MLE).

Chris also rightly points out that the rules may very well change in 2011, rendering the point moot.

And:

I cleaned up that section of the FAQ.

 

The new section reads as follows:

42. What if the team and player can't agree to a contract? What options does the player have? How long does the team keep his draft rights?

The player's options are limited. What happens depends on a number of factors:

  • If the player is already under contract to, or signs a contract with a non-NBA team, the team retains the player's draft rights for one year after the player's obligation to the non-NBA team ends. Essentially, the clock stops as long as the player plays pro ball outside the NBA. Players are not included in the team's team salary during the regular season while the player is under contract with a non-NBA team.
  • If the player was still eligible to play in college before he was drafted, the team retains the player's draft rights until the draft the player would have entered had he not left college early. For example, if a team drafts a college sophomore in 2005, they retain his draft rights until the date of the 2007 draft. Note that the current NCAA rules state that players lose their NCAA eligibility if they are drafted, so the player could not return or go on to play college ball.
  • For all other players, the team retains the player's draft rights until the date of the next draft.

In any of the above cases, if the team does not sign the player in the allotted time, the player can enter the next draft. If the team that selects the player in the next draft doesn't sign him either, he becomes a rookie free agent.

When a team signs a first round draft pick within three years after he is drafted, they use the salary scale for the year in which he signs (usually the player signs in the same year he is drafted). After three years they have the option of either using the salary scale or signing him like he was a free agent -- using their cap room, the Mid-Level exception, the Bi-Annual exception or the Disabled Player exception, and with standard raises. They can only do the latter if the player did not play intercollegiately in the interim, and such a contract must be for at least three seasons.

Players drafted prior to 2005 (under the previous CBA) may be signed according to the rules for scale contracts set forth in the 1999 CBA, with three guaranteed years plus one option year, at the scale salary for the year in which the player was drafted.

Thanks to Larry Coon for his prompt reply on Facebook and for his updated section.  I am still working on getting someone from the Wolves or the NBA to give us their official reading on the matter.

Remember, it looks like the NBA is in for some labor-related fun following 2011, so it is doubtful that the status quo will remain in place.  It may be the case that this particular rule weathers the storm, but it may not be as well.  We'll just have to wait and see what happens in the summer of 2011. 

Until later.