By Jason Wojciechowski on March 24, 2007 at 6:29 AM
Ok, this is the craziest thing ever. I thought it must be a joke. Quick recap: Randolph Morris, who was just a few days ago playing for Kentucky in the NCAA tournament, has signed a two-year free agent contract with the Knicks.
The deal is that Morris actually declared for the draft as a freshman, but didn't sign with an agent. This latter move allowed him to return to school once he went undrafted. In such a situation, the NBA CBA apparently provides that Morris cannot re-enter the draft, and thus is a free agent. I guess, technically, Morris could have signed with anybody at any point during this season and left school at that time. Obviously, his Kentucky team was decent enough that he wanted to wait and see what they might do as far as playing for the national championship.
Of course, Tubby Smith's announcement that he was leaving Kentucky to take the Minnesota job probably played some role in Morris's decision to leave as well.
Next question: is this a loophole to exploit? What's the risk for a freshman to just go ahead and declare for the draft but not hire an agent? If he gets drafted, great, welcome to the millionaire's club. If he doesn't, no worries - now you're a free agent! Just go back to school if you don't get any attractive offers and keep playing until someone comes knocking. If no one ever does, then stick around and graduate.
I fail to see what's preventing this from happening. The draft may well become sixty freshmen drafted each year - no older players would be drafted because all of them would already have been eligible in year n - 1 and thus would currently be ineligible for the draft.