Commissioner Adam Silver would like to change the NBA’s minimum age from 19 to 20, and he’ll take the matter up with the union once it hires a new executive director, tweets Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. The league and the union tabled the issue during negotiations on the current collective bargaining agreement in 2011 with the intent of circling back to the matter, but turmoil in the union appears to have held up discussions since.
The current rule holds that a player must be at least 19 years old to enter the draft, though 18-year-olds may enter if they turn 19 between the draft and December 31st. If the player is from the U.S., he must also be one year removed from high school. The league instituted the age limit in time for the 2006 draft after a decade-long trend of players jumping to the NBA immediately after high school.
It’s unclear whether the union, which doesn’t appear close to naming an executive director to replace the ousted Billy Hunter, would be supportive of changing the rule. Ostensibly, NBA players would support a measure that would delay the influx of talented young players eager to take their jobs, but agents, who have reason to seek as many paydays for their clients as possible, may push against a change. If the age limit does go to 20, it would negatively affect the talent in the first draft for which the new rule is in effect. Still, the 2006 draft, which followed the original imposition of the age limit, produced LaMarcus Aldridge, Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry.
There’s no timetable for when any changes to the age limit, if approved, would take effect. The rule will almost certainly remain the same for this year’s draft, and probably for next year’s draft, too.