Drafting professional players.

I am interested in one aspect on drafting professional players. How much control does that player have in deciding where they want to go. It seems that LeBron James got to play close to home.

Let’s say a blue chip college football player is from Miami, played for Miami U., his mama’s from Miami and he thinks the rest of the USA sucks. Everybody wants him. How much choice does he have to be able to play for the Dolphins over anyone else? Can he just bypass the draft process and go to the Dolphins as a free agent? How does think work?

Also, with foreign players like Yao Ming, how do they work in a draft pool. It seems that Yao’s handlers had a choice of teams to choose from, and they chose Houston, I guess because Houston has a sizable Chinese community. They turned down Memphis, where I am from.

Lastly, if someone like Shaq signs a long term contract for 85 quadrillion dollars over 5 years and blows his knee completely out during the next game, are the Lakers obligated to pay him the entire contract out?


I don’t think the amateurs in the professional draft have much say in what team they go to. This is because the Draft order is determined beforehand and the amateur being included in the draft is for all teams to choose. This being said, the draft order determines which team will pick which player. It doesn’t really matter if the player being drafted wants to go to the city. The team who picked him in the draft has the rights (owns the rights) of the player who was drafted.

A classic example of the player having not much choice was Eric Lindros in the hockey world. He was chosen by the Quebec Nordiques (now the Colorado Avalanche). He refused to play in Quebec. He sat out for a year, in which he played for the Canadian National team, and waited for something like a trade to be made. As we see here, Eric Lindros, the drafted player had no say in where he was going. It wasn’t his choice to go to Quebec. His only recourse was to whine/bitch and sit out and not play for the team that drafted him. He was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for Mike Ricci, PETER FORSBERG, lots of cash and a few first round draft picks. (aside: theFlyers organization sure wish they didn’t trade for him and lose a player like Forsberg)

so, simply put the players don’t have much say in where they go. They can announce that they won’t play for a team and hope said team passes him over. But if the player is of superstar quality, any team would pick him up whether or not they will suit up. The rights are worth taking as trade bait.

and for your last question, I think the team will take only a percentage of the massive salary. the other percentage will be paid by an insurance company. Teams almost always get insurance for players in case of injury. The only instance that I know of where the team is shouldering a large portion of an injured player’s salary is the Orlando Magic and Grant Hill. His insurance expired and he as chronic ankle/feet problems. Not many insurance companies want a sureshot loss. I can’t give you more info on the insurance buying. Cuz simply I have no idea. No idea on what is insured, how much will be insured or other important details. Let’s just say that insurance companies foot the bill.

I’m sure it’s all painfully spelled out in lawyerese in the contract and different for each case/contract.

I’m sure it’s all painfully spelled out in lawyerese in the contract and different for each case/contract.

Players don’t have much say, but they can play hardball sometimes and get what they want. John Elway was drafted by the then Baltimore Colts but refused to sign. He threatened to sit out. He was traded to Denver. 15 years later, he had a SB ring. About 20 QBs and around the same number of years later, the now Indianapolis Colts finally got their franchise QB in Peyton Manning.

   I don't know the rules on injuries to players in the NBA, but I am sure it is spelled out somewhere in their contracts.  Porbably a standard clause of some sort.  Also, even beyond that there are salary cap rules that apply.  I think the money still counts against the cap for awhile.  

 It was "luck" (if you believe in that with the NBA draft system) that allowed LeBron James to play in his hometown.  Cleveland had the worst team the year before and won the draft lottery.  And I don't think Yao Ming's "handlers" had a whole lot of say in where he went.  If a team wanted him bad enough, they would have taken him no matter what his agent or anyone else said.

You have to go through the draft process no matter what. However, in the NFL, rookies aren’t automatically signed to slotted contracts (in the NBA, they are: the number 1 overall pick is automatically given a contract for X amount of dollars, the number 2 pick gets a bit less, and so on). In the NFL, each team is allowed to spend a certain amount of money a year to sign all of their rookies (they call this the rookie pool), and each player’s contract is separately negotiated. So in your scenario, the guy from Miami, if drafted by, say, Buffalo, could just refuse to sign a contract with Buffalo. They call that “holding out.” Usually, the guy will sign eventually, but if not, he just can’t play in the NFL for some amount of time (I think just the one season, but I don’t know), and eventually he’d be a free agent.

In the case where somebody just flat refuses to sign, it’s in the team’s best interest to try to trade the guy where he wants to go, because otherwise they get nothing for their high draft pick. That’s what happened with the aforementioned John Elway and Lindros situations. You can’t force a guy to go out on the field, so what can you do if you’re the team that drafted him? Of course they could just let him sit out, and not trade him out of spite, but that’s not usually the case. They get what they can get, most of the time.

Not always, though. A situation just like this took place a few years back in baseball, when the Phillies took J.D. Drew with their first draft pick. Drew demanded a huge contract, the Phillies refused to give in, so he ended up playing in an independent semi-pro league for a year and getting picked by the Cardinals in the draft the next year.

In the NBA, the team that drafts you has the rights to you for at least three years if you go in the first round. The only way Yao could influence where he went would be to say to other teams that he’d refuse to play in their city, but they could still draft him and own his rights. As it happened, Houston had the first pick, so they took him. He didn’t choose where he went at all. Anybody who wants to play in the NBA has to declare themself for the draft first, and if they get selected they go to that team.

Contracts that big are always insured for a huge amount- not as big as the whole contract, but huge. If Shaq gets hurt and can’t play, the Lakers don’t pay him, the insurance does. The Lakers still have that contract “on the books,” though, so they can’t sign anyone in his place because of the salary cap. In the case of a really severe injury, the NBA can sometimes give special exemptions to the team so they can sign someone else, but it’s not as much as the injured player’s contract. IOW, if Shaq breaks his leg and has to retire, the Lakers could apply for an exemption and the NBA might allow them to use a few million dollars worth of the money that would have gone to Shaq. They don’t have to give Shaq his 85 quadrillion, but they’re still screwed because they can’t sign any players.

Just as a compliment to what everyone has said, IIRC, major league baseball is the only sport (at least out of the big 3, and 4 if you count hockey) that has guaranteed contracts. Meaning that, if a baseball player suffers a career-ending injury, he is still due the money remaining on the contract. I don’t think any other sport has this stipulation.