NBA commissioner Adam Silver on multiple occasions has said that the league’s one-and-done rule isn’t working much for the league anymore, the NCAA or any other affiliates. It has a lot of issues to deal with, but one particular issue stands out, and that is elite players have to attend college for at least a year before being eligible for the NBA draft. In the recent FBI probe uncovering, it brought negative light on dozens of college programs by highlighting their illegal recruiting methods.
On Monday, an ESPN report gave details on how the NBA is exploring into the possibility of dealing directly with elite high school basketball players rather than going to college. The report said that 18-year-olds could “earn a meaningful salary either from NBA teams or as part of an enhanced option in the developmental G League.”
While discussing the league’s 19-year-old age limit, Silver stressed the need to make first contact with elite prospects before they reach the NBA. “Probably the most important issue is the development for the players before they come into the NBA,” he said last year. “So now we’re at a point where the colleges no longer want them and the players seem a bit disillusioned with their semester-plus playing – I think it means we have to reexamine our policy.”
ESPN reports that the NBA is preparing to make inroads with elite high school basketball players, and the NBA held formal meetings with appropriate parties, including the National Basketball Players’ Association. Silver’s plan, which is waiting on the Commission on College Basketball to issue the report this spring, could offer a substitute path to the NBA that would circumvent the NCAA altogether.
Silver even addressed the NBA’s age issues at this year’s All-Star weekend:
“I think the question for the league is, in terms of their ultimate success, are we better off intersecting them a little bit younger?” Silver said. “Are we better off bringing them into the league when they’re 18 using our G League as it was designed to be as a Development League and getting them minutes on the court there? And there is also recognition that for some of these elite players, there is no question that they can perform in the NBA at 18 years old.”