OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Commissioner Adam Silver wants the N.B.A.’s draft-eligibility rules changed.
To what, he isn’t sure.
Less than a month away from a draft in which about 20 players who completed just one year of college are expected to be selected, Silver thinks the so-called “one-and-done” rule will be modified — somehow — before too long. But Silver also acknowledged that even he wasn’t certain what would make the most sense as a replacement.
“My sense is it’s not working for anyone,” Silver said Thursday night before Game 1 of the N.B.A. finals. “It’s not working for the college coaches and athletic directors I hear from. They’re not happy with the current system. And I know our teams aren’t happy either, in part because they don’t necessarily think the players who are coming into the league are getting the kind of training that they would expect to see.”
“I’m rethinking our position.” — Adam Silver on NBA one-and-done rule pic.twitter.com/cGFOj1heGg— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) May 31, 2017
It’s been just over a decade since the N.B.A. and the players’ union agreed on a rule that says players either need to be 19 years old or be one year removed from high school before being eligible for the draft. There are arguments for raising the minimum age to 20, as well as arguments for getting rid of the rule altogether.
Silver said he expects to have more talks in the coming months with the union about the topic.“I think it’s one of those issues that we need to come together and study.”
There were six rookies this season who averaged 10 points per game or more; none were teenagers. One of the advantages that could come from raising the age minimum to 20 would be that players may be more ready for the pro game. Silver said he has talked to many veteran players, who have a sense that the 19-year-olds “are not coming in game-ready.”
Silver also defended the N.B.A.’s decision to return the All-Star Game to Charlotte, N.C., in 2019, after taking it away and moving it to New Orleans this season in response to North Carolina’s law restricting the rights and anti-discrimination protections for L.G.B.T. people.
A deal to repeal that law was struck in March, though critics have said it does not go far enough.
“We had said to the legislative leaders we will consider coming back in 2019, if you change the law,” Silver said. “The law was changed.”
He added: “They made incremental progress. And I felt, in part, there is a role that the league can play in demonstrating what equality looks like to a community.”
Silver said taking All-Star weekend to Charlotte could serve as an example of what it looks like to be nondiscriminatory. “My hope is that by setting that example,” he said, “we can unify people and that the state will follow.”
Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images