Calipari sees harm in potential expansion of draft

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari came out strongly against the idea that the NBA would consider expanding beyond its current draft format, which includes two rounds.

Speaking at the SEC Tipoff event on Wednesday afternoon, Calipari argued that the more rounds wouldn’t be for the NBA but rather to stock its developmental arm of the G League.

“If anybody supports more rounds in the draft, those more rounds are to get kids to go to the G League, you do not care about college basketball or you’re trying to ruin college basketball,” Calipari said.

Calipari’s comments come a day after Duke Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski suggested more rounds in the NBA draft were a potential likelihood with the G League’s increasing impact on the league.

Calipari, who signed a 10-year, $85 million extension this summer, said he supports players’ ability to go straight to the NBA out of high school but is nonetheless wary of the G League. He says the developmental league’s current setup helps those who are playing “their way back into the league” as opposed to those who are trying to enter it for the first time.

“After 2 years they don’t perform, what? The NBA is going to take care of them and hire them? No. It’s entertainment. You’re done,” Calipari said.

Rather, Calipari stressed college as a more stable option.

“If they’re not going to the NBA, if we’re really about young people, we should encourage them to go to college,” he said. “And the reason is their way out is through education. Their way to break through to the American dream is education.”

Calipari also addressed the new California law which will allow college athletes in the state to collect money for endorsements beginning in 2023. He challenged a room full of reporters whether they’d read the law line-by-line before saying that he hadn’t either.

“But I do know that now there’s a law in New York, there’s one in Florida. How about this: Kentucky’s going to have a law,” he said. “That tells me there’s going to be 40 laws in 40 different states. Then the tea leaves tell me there’s one place this is going to get solved and it’s Congress. It’s not by the NCAA and it’s not by the states.”

While Calipari has long positioned himself as a supporter of college athletes having ownership of their name and likeness, he was worried about the next steps.

“There are all kinds of consequences that have to be address, and I’m coaching my team,” he said. “That’s what I’m doing, so I’m not spending much time on it.”

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