Commissioner Adam Silver says NBA might be ready to lower age on draft eligibility

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he thinks the league is ready to scrap the rule requiring players to be out of high school for a year before becoming eligible to enter the draft.

“I'm not here to say we have a problem,” Silver said Tuesday during a news conference following the Board of Governors meeting. “And I love where the league is right now. But I think we can create a better system.”

Part of that better system, he thinks, will be reverting back to the policy that will allow players to go into the league right out of high school — something that should be in place in time for the 2021 NBA draft, though that timeline has not been formally announced.

“My personal view is that we're ready to make that change,” Silver said. “It won't come immediately.”

Michele Roberts, who was re-elected as the National Basketball Players Association executive director, said she has had talks with Silver on the topic, though she stopped short of revealing specifics. Any change to the rule will require that the league's collective bargaining agreement will have to be amended.

“Stay tuned,” Roberts said, adding, “I suspect that we'll have some news in the next few months.”

Silver also said there will be a relatively minor tweak to free agency rules, that being a likely change to what has been the traditional 12:01 a.m. EDT start time on July 1. Silver said he's no fan of the all-night news cycle that has accompanied the official start of free agency, and without divulging what will happen he made clear that it'll be different for 2019.

Silver also addressed the issue of parity, particularly the fact the West is even more powerful with LeBron James joining the Lakers and Golden State having won three of the last four NBA titles.

“It's on me and our labor relations committee ultimately to sit with the players and their committee and convince them that there may be a better way of doing things,” Silver said. “By that, meaning change ultimately in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I don't necessarily think it's, per se, bad that the Warriors are so dominant. We're not trying to create some sort of forced parity. What we're really focused on is parity of opportunity.”

Among other matters Silver addressed Tuesday:

— The governors were briefed on the ongoing talks the league is having with the gaming industry, with sports betting now able to be offered by each state following a ruling in May by the U.S. Supreme Court.

— Silver called it “embarrassing” that the league currently has only one female referee, and said he's hopeful that will be changed before long. There are 19 female referees at summer league in Las Vegas this month.

— The investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct against the Dallas Mavericks should be completed by the end of July, Silver said.

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