NBA commissioner Adam Silver has indicated a desire to change his league’s one-and-done rule.
But that might not simply be again allowing players to join the NBA out of high school.
Silver’s aim is much more comprehensive than simply re-opening the door for 18-year-olds to play in the NBA, sources said.
A plan is expected to include the NBA starting relationships with elite teenagers while they are in high school, providing skills to help them develop both on and off the court. It would ultimately open an alternate path to the NBA besides playing in college and a way 18-year-olds could earn a meaningful salary either from NBA teams or as part of an enhanced option in the developmental G League, sources said.
The NBA is focusing on getting involved in two important periods in which they currently have minimal contact with prospects: the high school years and the time between high school graduation and when a young player is physically and emotionally ready to join the NBA.
The system for elite 18-year-old basketball players is mostly broken. There’s an opportunity here, especially with the NCAA’s absurd amateurism rules coming under enhanced scrutiny. The NBA has the most resources to throw at the problem.
If the NBA’s plan includes putting these players in its minor league, those minor-league salaries must rise significantly. Otherwise, players will still go to college, where scholarships and cost-of-attendance aren’t nothing and under-the-table payments will never be stopped.
As for younger players, the United States could see academies like the NBA has opened around the globe. I’m not as convinced putting boys so deeply on an NBA track is good, though. It’ll be good for the players who make the NBA and the league itself. But what about those who wash out?
Still, more options – especially for the 18-year-olds currently shut out of the NBA – would be better. It’s about time the NBA stopped ceding that time to college basketball and competed to have a better alternative.