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Making the Cut

Each sport, from football to golf, has its rules and regulations for going from amateur to pro, and success is far from guaranteed.

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By the time New York has signed all 12 players, they will have exceeded the salary cap by about $28 million. Then a luxury tax kicks in, enacting a penalty of $3.75 for every dollar over the cap. If the Knicks reach $86.5 million in payroll, the penalty would be $105 million, a luxury tax that may be distributed to non-taxpaying teams.
How the Knicks overcome this intractable problem remains to be seen. This is the same franchise that priced one-dimensional Allan Houston at $100 million and is now saddled with Stoudamire, who can’t jump over a phone book and can’t stay healthy.
Still, sports drafts embody hope.
On draft night Commissioner David Stern announced “With the sixth pick of the 2013 NBA Draft the New Orleans Pelicans select Nerlens Noel.” A 6'11" center from Kentucky, Noel expected to go first. The rookie wage is fixed, and the first pick, 6'8" power forward Anthony Bennett from Nevada-Las Vegas, will get $4.5 million. That’s about $1.8 million more than Noel’s $2.7 million in the sixth spot. But Noel has infectious enthusiasm, blocks five shots per game and looks forward to joining Anthony Davis, another shot-swatter in New Orleans so they can have a “regular block party.” In a league woefully shortchanged on effective big men, Noel can dominate. He owns abundant talent, and if he mixes that with tireless resolve, he can always get better.
In the meritocratic world of sports the future is ever bright.
Kenneth Shouler is a professor of philosophy at the County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey, and a frequent contributor to Cigar Aficionado.
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