During the next round of CBA negotiations, the NBA’s age limit is going to be one of the most divisive topics between the owners and players. Adam Silver has come out strong on his desire to raise the minimum age so that players have to be two years removed from high school before declaring for the draft, rather than the one year it’s been since the NBA stopped allowing players to turn pro from high school in 2006.
At his media availability session on Saturday at All-Star Weekend, he reiterated this desire (via The Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney):
“I think it would be much better for the game if the minimum age were 20 instead of 19. Having said that, I do understand the other side of the issue. While the Union has stated its view that they want to keep it at 19, we haven’t entered collective bargaining. We haven’t sat across the table and discussed it with them. We haven’t had an opportunity to present, in essence, our side of why we think it would be beneficial not just for the league, but for the players as well. So we’ll see. When we get into bargaining, I’m sure we’ll discuss it.”
The players aren’t going to give this issue up without a fight, and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts made that clear in a response to Silver’s comments:
Union executive director Michele Roberts: “Be happy with one-and-done (for college players, it’s not going to be two-and-done.”
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) February 13, 2015
This is a point of contention that both sides feel strongly about, with the NBA wanting more polished players and the NBPA wanting players to be able to earn NBA paychecks sooner. In 2017, this is going to be one of the main items on the agenda, and both the league and the players are already digging their heels in publicly.
Brace yourselves for 2017. It could be another long lockout.