Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Las Vegas Dealers Semipro Team Offering Up to $1.2 Million to McDonald’s All-Americans: Source
The Las Vegas Dealers semipro basketball team has offered up to $1.2 million for at least one 2015 McDonald’s All-American and has garnered interest in having several play for the fledgling team, a source close to the team told SNY.tv.
“[Dealers head Cerruti Brown] is offering some lofty money,” the source said. “There’s people actually considering it now, don’t think people aren’t considering it.”
Brown recently told SNY’s The 4 Quarters Podcast that he had $10 million in startup money and would be willing to pay up to $1 million to land a McDonald’s All-American and that his team was “shooting for five” such players. He was not immediately available Friday to comment on the $1.2 million figure.
The source said Brown had already met with several All-Americans — or those close to them — but did not want the names of those players published. Here is the list of this year’s McDonald’s All-Americans.
“He’s throwing out $700,000 and he’s going up to $1.2 million on some kids,” the source said. “He’s offering a three-year deal with the first year as a team option and the second- and third- year as a player option.
“All of them [the players Brown has contacted] have interest in getting paid right now.”
Said one NBA scout: “Obviously, you want that money up front and guaranteed because they’re coming out of nowhere because who are these masked men?”
The thinking is that if a player doesn’t make it in the NBA, he will have a level of security with the Dealers, who are aiming to play 35 games in Las Vegas (possibly at the Cox Pavilion) and then 15 games in Europe against to-be-determined competition. Brown said he was in contract talks with former college assistant Scott Adubato about coaching the team. Adubato was not immediately available for comment.
“You would get some security if you don’t get drafted,” the source said of the players. “You can come back and play on the team and be at the same salary level.”
The rest of the Dealers roster would theoretically be rounded out by former college players, with the aim of appealing to NBA franchises who would want to come through and evaluate the talent in the spring before the NBA Draft Combine.
“Obviously, one of things we judge these guys on is who they’re playing against,” the NBA scout said. “That’s why it is very important who they play, that they have a schedule. With that money, you can get a schedule. It’s just like when Syracuse brings someone into the Carrier Dome to flop, they paid them well. Teams go down and play at Kentucky, they get a payday. I would think there would be teams…I just wonder if the D-League has a policy against it. I would encourage them to get the money up front and play them because the D-League has a very good level of athlete.”
In terms of getting McDonald’s All-Americans on the Dealers, the source close to the team said: “If [Brown] has that real money, and that’s the real question, if the money real, he could potentially pull that off.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.