LAS VEGAS — The NBA’s one-and-done rule is unofficially done.
Commissioner Adam Silver made it clear on Tuesday that there is growing support for a change that would allow players to enter the league at the age of 18 rather than require them to play one year of college basketball – or internationally. Such a move would have to be collectively bargained with the National Basketball Players Association, but Silver’s tone on this topic was the strongest sign yet that it’s only a matter of time.
“My personal view is that we’re ready to make that change,” Silver said after the conclusion of the latest round of owners' meetings. “It won’t come immediately, but…when I weighed the pros and cons – (and) given that (former Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice and her (NCAA) commission has recommended to the NBA that those one-and-done players now come directly into the league and, in essence, the college community is saying ‘We do not want those players anymore,’ I mean that sort of tips the scale in my mind that we should be taking a serious look at lowering our age to 18.”
If this momentum continues as so many expect, the rule that has been in place since 2006 would be no more. Silver sent a memo to teams in mid-June indicating the change would not come any earlier than the 2021 draft, and that timeline appears to still be in tact. Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts met in November to discuss the topic, not long after the FBI’s investigation into college basketball sparked the Rice-led commission that appears to have turned this tide. As Silver indicated, the league’s owners discussed the matter at the Vegas meetings.
“We did discuss that, both with the labor relations committee and with the board, and…the sense was we should be engaging with the Players Association on the minimum age to come into the NBA, and we presented the pros and cons of going from 19 to 18, in conjunction with that presentation we discussed a lot about the development of younger players prior to them coming into the professional ranks,” Silver said. “We’ve had several discussions with both the NCAA and USA Basketball about engaging with them, with players, beginning roughly at 14 years old, and especially with those elite players (who) we know statistically have a high likelihood, when they’re identified at that age, of being top tier players, of coming into the league. So I think the next step will be to sit down with the Players Association.”