Gordon Hayward isn't coming back to Butler

April 15, 2010
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Gordon Hayward has left Hinkle Fieldhouse.

And if he’s as smart as that Butler University education is supposed to make him, he isn’t coming back.

The Baby-Faced Assassin has departed for the National Basketball Association, and Butler faithful, if they really have Hayward’s best (financial) interests at heart, will support the move.

This is why.

Hayward’s earning power right now is as much about the CBA as it is about the NBA. And no, I’m not talking about the Continental Basketball Association.

I’m talking about the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA players union and 30 team owners. It expires at the end of next season.

The NBA is in a world of hurt right now that extends far beyond the Indiana Pacers. NBA Commissioner David Stern said during All-Star Weekend in Dallas that the league stands to lose $400 million this season, and has lost at least $200 million each of the last four seasons. He said as many as nine teams are in serious financial trouble.

So Stern is ready to drop the hammer on players’ salaries. He is calling for reducing the players’ take from 57 percent to 43 percent of the league’s total revenue.

Naturally, I expect NBA Players Union boss Billy Hunter to fight this. But even Hunter knows salaries must come down for teams to survive.

A smart kid like Hayward, and more importantly his NBA-savvy advisers, understand what this means for the sophomore from Brownsburg. And yes, Hayward has had advisers scouting his prospects in the NBA for quite some time.

If Stern gets even part of what he wants, it could dramatically affect the rookie pay scale. Even a 20 percent reduction in salaries (depending on where he is drafted) could cost Hayward $1.5 million to $3 million over four years. Though the Haywards are a long way from dirt poor, that’s still a lot of money to leave on the table.

Because first-round selections are locked into two-year deals with team options for two more years, Hayward is looking at a four-year pay day of between $8.3 million and $4.6 million (if we can believe early draft projections).

And because Hunter is likely to go down swinging, I expect all current salaries to be grandfathered in to the deal, with rookies and free agents (after the new CBA is enacted) taking the biggest hit. That’s why it’s important to get a deal done before the CBA expires at the end of the 2010-11 season.

There’s one far worse scenario for Hayward. He stays at Butler, has a wonderful junior season, is ready to come out in the draft next spring, and that draft is cancelled because NBA owners lock out players. Talk about being all dressed up with no place to go.

There’s some likelihood that current NBA players would have some of their salary restored after the lockout, but it’s not likely that NBA rookies would be afforded that same consideration.

One last note. I believe the Pacers would seriously consider taking Hayward in the first round if he’s still available. They need a PR boost in the worst way, especially after Jim Morris’ most recent public comments.

Most think I’m a bit crazy on that point, and maybe I am. But I think Hayward’s advisers have gotten wind of the same thing, and realize that could push his draft status up five to 10 notches. And that’s a few more bucks in his pocket.

Guys like Hayward don’t rely on Web sites and ad-hoc draft boards (and certainly not on hacks like me) to make such an important financial decision of whether or not to go pro.

He’ll have high-level intelligence after his pre-draft workouts.

So far, that intelligence is telling him to walk to the edge and take a look at the professional landscape.

By the May 8 deadline for early entrants to make their final decisions, that intelligence will tell Hayward to jump.

  • Great insight.
    My kneejerk reaction was that he shouldn't go pro, but, you're right: The Collective Bargaining issue does change the factors in the equation. I can absolutely see the wisdom of making the leap now, even if I do think he might do well with another year of experience (and, selfishly, I just would like to see him back in action at the college level). And, yes, it would be a PR boost for the Pacers to grab him, but people said the same thing when Steve Alford was coming out. The Pacers opted instead for a skinny kid out of California. The lesson? No amount of good PR can match the power of a superstar player and a winning team.
  • Gordon Hayward
    This all assumes that Gordon will show well in tryouts/camps over the next three weeks. If he doesn't, going to Butler is a better bet than being a 2nd round pick. Also, it is entirely possible the NBA will downsize going forward but it is unlikely to fold. The upshot is that the astronomical salaries are about to end. If he's first rounder, he's gone.
  • He's going, going, gone!
    Keep dreaming Butler fans. But Hayward showed enough during the NCAA tournament to warrnant being a first round draft pick. He wouldn't even have to show up at these pre-draft workouts, and he'd go in the top 25. Heck Fennis Dembo leveraged that much out of his final NCAA tournament.
  • Don't let go of G-Time
    Like John, I too do not wish to see Gordon leave anytime soon. He is a great asset to the Butler team. I personally don't understand (aside from financial reasons) how he could leave when Butler just almost won the title. Why would he not want a taste for more? I sure would in his position. What's the worst thing that could happen. Oh darn, he would become acomputer engineer if he couldn't get drafted next year.
    Gordon, I hope you stay with Butler for at least one more season. <3
  • Don't let go of G-Time
    not to bash you kylie, but how can you assume that he would become a computer engineer? It just amazes me how he is not judged negatively for considering leaving school early. Wall, Cousins,etc have been the target of negative publicity since announcing their plans to join the draft and leave college early. What makes Hayward any different?
  • You heard it hear folks...
    He has zero time for workouts and maintain his finals schedule (novel concept IU people) and what the NBA sees is what the NBA gets. Advisory board tells family lowest 20th up to 42nd. He withdraws and comes back for his junior year with insurance policy in back pocket. Lottery teams (and Pacers) need instant return so they are not lottery next year or heads roll.
  • CBA
    I think the CBA is the biggest factor in his decision. I think that is why Moore and Johnson are considering the jump this year. I would even bet if Hummell wouldn't have gotten hurt, he would have left too. You got to make hay while you can. The CBA hanging over the NBA's head is the motivating factor for many underclassmen coming out right now.
  • Just Joshing
    Maybe Josh can tell Hayward about how things are in the D-league...
  • Smoke
    Quit blowing so much smoke Anthony... otherwise Indy International will be closed for the same reason as all the European Airports.
    I am willing to bet that Hayward chose to go to Butler in order to receive a good education, not to go join the NBA. He now has that opportunity, but this kid has his head on straight. He knows that his opportunity to play will come one way or another so he might as well finish his education first. You have to remember that these Butler Bulldogs are not your average student athletes... they are students first and athletes second.
  • HA!
    Some of you make me laugh... if Hayward really was "a student first", he wouldn't be testing the waters right now.
  • Gordie H...
    A few words for Gordon Hayward to consider....The Butler Way...Loyalty...&...Kyle Singler stays at Duke...hmmm
  • for one thing...
    for one thing, Wall and Cousins are sure-fire top 5 picks.. A world of difference when Hayward is slotted for somewhere around #20 on up.. I think the perception difference is that, if there were no age requirement in the NBA, Cousins and Wall would have never played college ball in the first place. And I haven't seen a single article disparaging Wall and Cousins for leaving early. In fact, from what I understand they are both solid students, especially Wall.
  • "Student first"
    @ Andrew - Why does this mean that he is not a student first? If I were a sophomore in college, could sign a deal for the next four years that would pay me millions of dollars, and give me tremendous financial security for my future, I would do so. After the four years, I'd return to my college campus, complete my degree, and pursue a position in my chosen field. So I would be four years older than most college grads, but I'd have a hefty bank account. I was an accounting major in college, played Division III hoops. If I had the talent to go to the NBA in the early 90's when I was a sophomore, and secure myself financially, I would have done so in a heartbeat. Doesn't mean that I wouldn't be a CPA today.
  • You're a student second...
    @ Porter - With your long rant, do I really need to explain myself? You just showed, in a long way, to everyone that college would have been second... if you were good enough for the NBA. If a person is genuinely, "a student first", then they would get their degree first and not second. Your proposed scenario and Hayward's says, "money first" not "student first".
  • Kyle Singler should go
    If anyone should go out early it's Kyle Singler since next season he will miss Zu and Scheyer to the point where he will be shut down by other teams and drop from being a debatable top 20 draft pick this year when he can get paid more as a rookie to being drafted in the second round next season when he can't get his pay day.
  • And it's official... money first
    Some of you that were "willing to bet" would be losing money right now. And he's off to the NBA... money first, student second. Just because it's Butler, don't fool yourselft that the athletes are much different than other schools.
  • This is foolish
    this is foolish of him to leave butler
  • Others Before Him
    It better be about money because college BB and the NBA are two different sports. He's not a great athlete - just a smart player with a good shot. Let's look at a few recent hardship cases. Adam Morrison, Gerald Henderson, Hasheem Thabeet, and J.J. Reddick. All better shooters/scorers than Heyward. Hasheem Thabeet has NBA size and no skills and is already out of the league. Morrison looks like he will be out of the league soon. Reddick is only having marginal success and he's playing with the best big man in the league. Henderson is a much better athlete but is only getting 6 minutes a game. The NBA is losing money because the NBA game sucks until playoff time. It sucks because players are leaving college before they have mastered the skills needed at the next level. I used to be a Pacers season ticket holder. Now I barely watch NBA games. I want to watch players that want to be great at what they do not want to get paid great for what they do.

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