The mailbag: Dan Hawkins and more 

July, 2, 2010

Here is this week's mailbag. If you'd like to submit questions, send them to me via Twitter: @BFeldmanESPN.

From Cheng_Sio (via Twitter): Outside of money, how similar is this year's NBA free agency to college football recruiting?
Well, a cynic would say the biggest difference is just that the dollars involved are bigger in the NBA. Actually, I was on an elliptical at the gym Thursday watching ESPNEWS and they had Ric Bucher on talking about the wooing process of teams and these free agents, and I thought this sounds pretty familiar. Even the part about players talking about going to teams where their buddies might go to so they can bring a championship there is something you always hear with recruits.

It all comes down to which teams can spin the best and make the best case for a player, just like recruiting. Avery Johnson, the new Nets coach, made the statement that all they were hoping for was to get an "at-bat" -- similar to the coach just hoping to get an official visit from the blue-chipper. The LeBron story about meeting with the Nets ownership's pitch about showing him the blueprint to be a billionaire, etc. sounds a little like some five-star kid showing up to meet with the president of the school or some decorated faculty member or some, well, they're not supposed to get befriended by some former star of the program. And that's part of the differences is the NCAA has rules against how far this courtship can extend, the NBA doesn't. Of course, the NBA has a salary cap to navigate.