It sounds like the NBA’s one-and-done rule is on the verge of being overturned.
In light of the recent wiretap dumps that illuminate the general brokenness of the NCAA’s basketball recruitment, compensation and player-protection policies, league sources have told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst that commissioner Adam Silver is re-doubling his efforts to allow high school prospects the flexibility to establish Association ties:
Now, though, there is turbulence, as the underbelly in the youth and college basketball systems is being exposed. The NBA has watched it unfold. Seeing both a responsibility as the world’s leading basketball league and an opportunity to move in on valuable territory, the league is preparing to get involved again with elite high school basketball players, multiple sources told ESPN.
Current NBA commissioner Adam Silver and several of his top advisers have been engaged in listening tours and information-gathering missions with an array of stakeholders for months. That has included formal meetings with the National Basketball Players Association about adjusting the so-called “one-and-done” age-limit rule. But 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.
Any change to the league’s one-and-done protocol should be considered a positive. Even if 18-year-olds aren’t ultimately able to join one of the NBA teams immediately, expanding the G-League to include access to better coaching, developmental tools and, most of all, annual salaries and contracts benefits those who have no desire to attend college.
Right now, high school prospects don’t really have a choice. They can go overseas, where they’re able to make money but the NBA isn’t necessarily as committed to scouting them. Or they can attend college, where they risk injury and future financial security despite not (legally) being paid.
It’s unclear how quickly these changes to the NBA’s one-and-done scope could be implemented. But given everything we know about the NCAA and its archaic, if intentionally repressive policies, we should be rooting for the Association to get involved post-haste.