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Lowe On Ledo, Parsons, Draft Changes

The latest dispatch from Grantland's Zach Lowe explores the growing phenomenon of long-term deals for second-round picks, touching on many of the same points I made when I wrote last month about the subtle value of three-year contracts. Lowe focuses on Ricky Ledo's four-year deal with the Mavs, pointing to the Rockets' bargain-basement four-year pact with Chandler Parsons as a model many teams are trying to follow. "With players we think have a big upside, we will only do three- or four-year deals," Mavs owner Mark Cuban said to Lowe. "If their agents don’t like it, we let them go overseas." Lowe reveals more on the Mavs' negotiations with Ledo and the Rockets' plans for Parsons. His entire piece is worth a read, but we'll hit the highlights:

  • Cuban pushed Ledo's camp even farther than usual, refusing to consider a three-year contract. “Mark Cuban was not going to back down on that fourth year,” agent Seth Cohen tells Lowe. “It wasn’t up for discussion. And if I gave up on anything, I gave up on that. But what I got in exchange was that $60,000 bump and security. And that’s important for Ricky, someone who didn’t play any college basketball.”
  • Lowe suspects that the Rockets may end Parsons' contract a year early so he'll be a restricted free agent next summer instead of an unrestricted free agent in 2015. If they hang on to him, Lowe thinks that could be a sign the team will trade Parsons, as it did with Chase Budinger before he hit unrestricted free agency after the fourth year of his deal. Lowe refers to a team option on the final year of Parsons' contract, but according to ShamSports, it's a non-guaranteed season that becomes more than 50% guaranteed if Parsons isn't waived by New Year's Day. That could complicate any plans the team has for him next summer.
  • Over the next couple of years, the NBA and the players union will discuss changes to the draft age limit and a baseball-style draft rule requiring high schoolers to either enter the draft or go to college for multiple years. An increase to the 15-man roster limit will also be on the table, as well as the idea of "hybrid" roster spots for players shuttled between the NBA and D-League affiliates.  

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