The NBA sent out a memo to all 30 teams on Friday telling them that draft eligibility rules could change by 2021, but no earlier, reports ESPN’s Zach Lowe. The memo indicates that the league is reviewing issues “related to player development and the corruption investigation in college basketball.”
According to Lowe, the memo doesn’t mention the one-and-done rule specifically, but reports have suggested that the NBA is considering making changes to that rule, which requires prospects to be 19 years old or at least one year removed from high school in order to become eligible to enter the draft.
The league presumably wants to give teams plenty of warning if such a change is coming, since allowing prospects to enter the draft directly out of high school could create one year when the draft class is especially loaded. For instance, if the NBA eliminates the one-and-done rule for the 2021 draft, the final group of one-and-done players and the first group of high school prospects could both be draft-eligible that year. The NBA’s memo says that the eligibility rules aren’t expected to undergo any changes for the 2019 or 2020 drafts.
While teams still have plenty of time to prepare for potential changes to draft eligibility rules, the timing of the memo is worth noting. As Lowe observes, we’ll likely see some clubs trade future picks as part of draft-night deals next week, so the league wants those teams to have as much information as possible about the potential makeup of future draft classes.
The Heat, in particular, could be impacted by this news, since they’ve already sent their unprotected 2021 first-round pick to the Suns. The Grizzlies and Bucks could also end up surrendering unprotected first-rounders in ’21 to the Celtics and Suns, respectively, but those traded picks – which are protected in 2019 and 2020 – will likely change hands before then.
According to Lowe, the memo indicates that the NBA will discuss draft eligibility issues further at the league’s annual meetings at the Las Vegas Summer League next month.