Calipari says potential NBA lockout makes decisions tough for Kentucky players

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Calipari says potential NBA lockout makes decisions tough for Kentucky players

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:53 pm

Calipari says potential NBA lockout makes decisions tough for Kentucky players

LEXINGTON, Ky. — With less than two weeks until the deadline for college underclassmen to declare themselves eligible for the NBA Draft, University of Kentucky coach John Calipari doesn’t know what his team will look like a season from now.

But with a potential NBA lockout looming, Calipari said freshmen Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones face complicated decisions.

“This lockout really kind of screws everything up,” Calipari said Wednesday in a roundtable with local media. “I think a lot of kids are pulling their names because what if the lockout goes the whole year? What kind of mistake did you make?”

Knight, a 6-foot-3 point guard, and Jones, a 6-foot-8 forward, both are projected as first-round draft picks.

But the uncertain labor situation in the NBA is part of the reason neither player is ready to announce a stay-or-go decision.

Even with a potential lockout, Calipari said it’s “a no-brainer” for Knight and Jones to declare themselves eligible for the draft before the April 24 deadline, if they choose to.

Players have until May 8 to withdraw from the draft if they don’t sign with agents.

Calipari also said junior DeAndre Liggins should enter the draft in order to be evaluated before the May 8 deadline.

The UK coach does not expect freshman Doron Lamb to declare himself draft eligible.

“If he chose to, that’d be fine,” Calipari said.

Unless the NBA Players Association strikes a new collective bargaining agreement with the team owners, the league is set to shut down on July 1. That’s after the draft, but a potential lockout would leave drafted players with no income.

They could draw money from agents, Calipari noted, but that money would be loaned and paid back with interest.

“What about the workout guy who’s $20,000 a month? Who’s paying for that?” Calipari said. “You’re paying for that, and you’re not making any money.”

The New York Daily News reported today that the NBA will cancel its summer league, where drafted rookies typically play. Calipari considered that report an ominous sign.

“The lockout’s happening,” Calipari said. “When they cancel the summer (league), they’re just setting the tone of what they’re trying to do.”

And that complicates the NBA Draft decisions of Calipari’s underclassmen.

If they elect to jump, Calipari said he'll support them. If not, he'll welcome them back, assuming they return with the attitude Calipari wants.

“I told all these kids, ‘If you’re not willing to come back here and work like you’ve never worked before, you probably should put your name in, because you’re not going to improve yourself,’” Calipari said. “If you know, ‘I had a ball (this season), I’m going to get better, I’m going to challenge myself, I’m going to improve my habits,’ well then yeah (come back).”

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