One-And-Done Rule Not Expected To Change In New CBA

Facing an opt-out deadline of midnight Eastern time on Friday night, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association continue to discuss a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

If the two sides do reach an agreement today, the next CBA won’t change the “one-and-done” rule for draft prospects, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links). Discussions about that rule are no longer taking part of the CBA negotiations, Woj says.

The one-and-done rule, established in 2005, prohibits NBA hopefuls from entering the draft directly out of high school. Those players must wait a year before declaring for the NBA draft. As a result, many of the top prospects have become known as “one-and-done” players, since they spend just one year at college (or elsewhere) before making themselves draft-eligible.

Players used to be able to enter the draft directly out of high school – LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett were among the stars who did so – and there was some speculation in recent years that the NBA and NBPA would once again allow that to happen as part of the new CBA.

However, ESPN has been reporting for quite some time that no changes to the one-and-done rule are imminent, despite rumors the contrary, and it appears that’s still the case.

As Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter links) observes, there’s not a lot of motivation among teams, team owners, or players to change the rule. Giving NBA teams the ability to draft even younger players would make scouting more challenging and would eliminate jobs for veteran players.

According to Givony, while some people in the industry have had moral concerns about “forcing” 18-year-olds to attend college instead of beginning their professional careers, the emergence of alternate professional pathways to the NBA (ie. the G League Ignite and Overtime Elite) and NIL deals for college players have helped allay many of those concerns.

The NBA and NBPA both hope that a tentative agreement on a new CBA can be reached before tonight’s deadline, Wojnarowski notes. If there’s no deal in place by the end of the day, the league is expected to exercise its opt-out clause, which would move the expiry date of the current CBA up by one year to June 30, 2023. The two sides would still have three months to agree to a new CBA to avoid a lockout on July 1.

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