The NBA's players association wants the draft age limit to return to 18 years old from 19 but will listen to commissioner David Stern's desire to increase it to 20 only in exchange for significant concessions, writes ESPN.com's Andy Katz. For that to happen, the union will seek changes to the rookie wage scale and an incentive program for players who stay in school longer.
"The NBPA's position on the age limit has been consistent," said union spokesperson Dan Wasserman. "An overwhelming majority of the NBPA's members support the ability of potential NBA players to freely pursue their livelihood by allowing high school graduate-age players to apply for the draft. As a practical matter, we recognize that any change to the current rule must sufficiently balance both the league's and players' interests."
The NBPA would love for the minimum age to return to 18 but knows that it would have to concede something to the owners. Because that is unlikely to happen, they will look to gain ground in other areas if they agree to the age being bumped up to 20. The NBPA wants the owners to give first-year players more money and a quicker path to free agency if they stay in school.
The minimum age for draft eligibility was raised from 18 to 19 in the 2005 collective bargaining agreement.