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The NBA’s one-time rule is reportedly on the wane.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that the NBA and NBPA are expected to reduce the draft age to 18 as part of a new collective bargaining agreement. The change could come once the 2024 NBA draft.
The two sides reportedly have positive momentum as they work towards a new agreement, but there is still work to be done.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted some of the obstacles the two sides must pass:
The current collective labor agreement will expire after the 2023-2024 season.
A clause in the deal allows both sides to immediately open formal CBA negotiations by December 15. If the current CBA reopens, it’s almost certain that a new deal is on the way. If the current deal is carried over to 2023-24, it will be a mechanism to give the two sides time to talk, but it will also increase the likelihood of a work stoppage.
Protecting the mental health of players is also one of the key negotiating points for the union. The players want their mental health to be a possible indicator of missing time, similar to physical health.
This new policy would likely avoid a situation similar to Ben Simmons last season when the Philadelphia 76ers fined him for missing games for citing mental health issues. (The two sides later reached a financial settlement over a complaint Simmons filed.)
Tamika Tremaglio, executive director of the NBPA, said players have made an effort to bring more equality in the sport beyond their playing careers:
“Creating generational wealth is critical in this next chapter of the Union. It is critical to their legacy. Historically we have been so focused on making money – salary cap, etc. – but we all know that to make money We also know that the uncertain longevity (of an NBA career) makes it crucial to plan for what happens after the ball stops bouncing – creating this generational wealth.
“Thinking about the players’ contributions to the game and how they can be compensated for that means there needs to be more share structures. It could be the sale of a team. It could be the deals they make where they get more equity than the four or five years of a contract. It’s much broader and I don’t think we’ve looked at it historically. It’s been here and now.”
While most fans don’t invest much in the financial battle between millionaires and billionaires, the end of a one-time action would have an immediate impact on the entire league. The NBA has introduced a rule requiring players to be at least one year away from high school from the 2006 draft.
That change came amid a wave of prep-to-pro busts, essentially turning college basketball into a glorified minor league. Young superstars would arrive on campus, ball out and leave within months of their arrival.
While the rule has created quite a few one-off legends, it’s hard to say it made the draft evaluation process more accurate. Draft busts are still a regular occurrence, largely at the same rate as in the prep-to-pro format.
The NBA has seemingly acknowledged its mistake in recent years by launching the G League Ignite team, which is made up of high-level prospects who earn a salary rather than take the collegiate route. Both sides seem to recognize that it is better to cut out the middleman and allow 18-year-olds to rejoin the league, especially now that the G League has a stronger development system.
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