that of Smush Parker, the former Los Angeles Lakers guard whose own odyssey had landed him here, also at age 34, in hopes of landing another job.
Yeah, I know Smush,” said Smith, a 6-foot-10 power forward. “We shot a cellphone commercial together in Mongolia.”
Players come because 20 contracts are up for grabs, and the pay is excellent: $30,000 a month for first-round picks and $20,000 a month for second-round picks, all tax free.
A 6-foot point guard, Jackson knew he was at a disadvantage. Most teams wanted larger guards, so Jackson tried to play big. In his first game, he scored 21 points, shot 9 of 13 and rose for a dunk that left several team officials cheering from their chairs.
One month’s salary in Korea would nearly double what he had made in the D-League last season, he said. He recalled a recent conversation with Elijah Millsap, a former D-League teammate who signed with the Utah Jazz in January.
Well, see, that was the thing. The expectation among league officials is that if a player shows up for the draft, he intends to finalize his contract on the spot.
But some officials said they thought the game was losing its speed and finesse, so a new rule was introduced this year: Each team could draft only one player taller than 6-4.
Half the jobs for players his size were suddenly gone, and he was competing for a contract with 25 players who already had K.B.L. experience. (All of them, it should be noted, were required to go through the tryout and re-enter the draft.)
“You can quote this as Smush Parker saying, ‘Yo, Mongolia was the worst basketball experience ever,’ ” Parker said. “I would advise nobody to ever go there.”
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