Do you know the ironic part?
Other than, of course, this is the proposal of someone who is from Florida, operates out of a California-based company and says he is a think-tank businessman from Delaware.
Aren’t we all?
Someone who has absolutely no background in sports as a player or executive, who apparently owns no online existence, no social media presence, and who offers few specific answers to direct questions.
It’s this: The concept has legs.
Small ones, but legs.
I’m just not sure Cerruti Brown is the person to execute it, because I’m not sure anyone in the world knows who he is.
The cellphone number he offers directs you to an office line that no one answers for an independent professional basketball team whose website presents little information beyond a 55-second clip by a gentleman asking Las Vegas if it is ready to rumble and join the team as it competes at Cox Pavilion.
Which, by the way, might surprise those at Cox Pavilion.
There is also a countdown clock on the website and, as of early Wednesday, five days and 11 hours remained until … someone answers the phone?
Brown, who says he is “pushing 40 years old,” labels himself as a man who thinks outside the box.
This qualifies: He wants to form a team — the Las Vegas Dealers — made up of McDonald’s All-American prep players and current college and NBA Development League players to compete against professionals from Europe over a six-month season that would begin in October. He essentially wants to sign players to a team that has no market value and would offer little national exposure to those NBA eyes they most want to impress.
Just a guess: TV suits won’t be lining up to broadcast the Dealers against CSKA Moscow.
Brown also wants to pay the players a boatload of money.
The idea is to offer those not interested in college or yet eligible/prepared for the NBA a lucrative option beyond packing their bags for Italy or Japan or some other faraway land of language and culture and social barriers.
Or, as those from the D-League define it, Sioux Falls.
“We want to bring an exciting brand of basketball to Las Vegas that has never been seen before,” Brown said. “We want it to be young and fresh and out of the norm. Players are definitely going to consider the offers we put on the table for them.”
Oh, yes. Those numbers that have made headlines nationally.
Brown said he will offer three-year tiered contracts, with player options for the second and third seasons, because I can’t imagine anyone would ultimately choose being a Loyal Dealer over a Real Life Warrior.
A McDonald’s All-American would be paid $700,000 annually; a current college player would make $400,000; and someone with one or two years of D-League experience gets $100,000.
That’s a lot of zeros to promise.
And, not surprisingly, this is where those specific answers instead tend to be vague responses.
The think-tank businessman from Delaware said that while he hopes for the team to play before a packed gymnasium, selling tickets isn’t a primary concern for making payroll. Suddenly, every professional sports franchise in the world has someone calling Brown for advice, enraged when no one answers the phone.
Suddenly, Mike Newcomb, the executive director of the Thomas &Mack Center, who says Brown’s company made a schedule inquiry about the availability of Cox Pavilion but that no contract has been signed, is wondering how bills would be paid.
Brown said he thinks he and his partners (nobody knows who they are or if they also sit around and think about things in the state of blue hens and peach pie) will use their own money and can land enough corporate sponsors here and abroad to make financial sense of the vision, given his plan is to play 35 home games and another 15 overseas against FIBA and European pro teams.
Question: Why would any of them be interested in traveling to America to engage lesser competition than they normally face at home?
Brown also predicts those shoe companies that throw millions of dollars at college programs will write checks to fund a team that would include four to five of the country’s best prep players, young men who are in their own minds one-and-done talents and have no desire to sit through an English 101 class at Kentucky or Duke or Kansas or any other high major.
I suppose the important part is landing those four to five McDonald’s All-Americans.
I suppose the incredibly difficult part will be landing one.
Brown has yet to announce any player signings, though he offered the coaching job to Scott Adubato, whose father, Richie, coached the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons. The younger Adubato is a former college assistant who owns the auspicious resume builder of having been fired three times in three years.
It’s true there are prep stars, several, in fact, who would never step on a college campus if not for the rule that stipulates draft entrants must be at least 19 and one NBA season must have elapsed since the player graduated from high school.
Some kids want nothing to do with school, and rumors of impending tougher academic standards and possible freshman ineligibility (not happening) have many prospects considering their options.
So to try to create another choice for the next Jeremy Tyler or Emmanuel Mudiay or Brandon Jennings beyond living and playing in a different country for a year isn’t the craziest or even worse idea. But if the devil isn’t totally immersed within the details of how the Dealers would be financed and run, he is within striking distance.
“Colleges make millions of dollars off these kids every year,” Brown said. “We’re offering a kid $700,000 right now and a chance to immediately work on his brand as a professional, to get some of that money back for his talent. We don’t want the 90th-ranked high school player. We want those in the top 25.
“There is no back-and-forth with our offer. This is what it is. The family and the young man will have to make what they feel is the best decision for them. NBA players and coaches have told us they love the idea. Different global corporations have told us they love the idea. All it’s going to take is one big-time kid to jump on board.”
He didn’t mention which specific NBA players or coaches or global corporations are all-in on the Dealers, nor would he say if any McDonald’s All-Americans have expressed an ounce of interest in being that first big-time kid.
Cerruti Brown supposedly does a lot of thinking out in the state of blue hens and peach pie, and he sure can talk.
All we need now are actual answers and proof.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “Seat and Ed” on KRLV 1340 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.