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Volume 25 No. 215
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NBA's Silver Gathering Info To Reconsider One-And-Done Rule

Silver and several advisers have been engaged in listening tours with an array of stakeholders for months
Photo: NBAE/Getty Images

The NBA, with regard to the one-and-done rule, is "focusing on getting involved in two important periods in which they currently have minimal contact with prospects: the high school years and the time between high school graduation and when a young player is physically and emotionally ready to join the NBA," according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver "could present a plan within the next few months, though the league is planning to wait until after the Commission on College Basketball presents its report this spring." Silver and several advisers have "been engaged in listening tours and information-gathering missions with an array of stakeholders for months." That has "included formal meetings" with the NBPA. A plan is "expected to include the NBA starting relationships with elite teenagers while they are in high school, providing skills to help them develop both on and off the court." Sources said that it would "ultimately open an alternate path to the NBA besides playing in college and a way 18-year-olds could earn a meaningful salary either from NBA teams or as part of an enhanced option" in the G League. In recent days, influential voices such as President Obama and LeBron James have called for G League expansion to "give teenagers another option." Sources added that within the past year, league officials began "canvassing teams on their ideas and interest in the NBA creating academies that would house and train dozens of the country's elite high school basketball players." This academy concept has been "floated for years, notably by" Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban. NCAA President Mark Emmert also has said that he "doesn't believe players should come to college if only to use it as a pit stop" (ESPN.com, 3/6).

NBA TAKING THE INITIATIVE: USA TODAY's Michael Singer notes part of the NBA's plan could "hinge on working with elite prospects throughout high school, whether at tournaments or at summer camps." One thought behind developing programs or relationships is that it "could allow NBA-level coaching, advice on nutritional habits, improved practice regimens or even help with life skills." There is also the "possibility that USA Basketball could be involved" (USA TODAY 3/6). In Portland, Tim Brown writes the NBA has "recognized the need to make a change," but what that change will look like is "still up for debate" (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/6). ESPN's Mike Golic Jr. said, "This is Adam Silver already controlling the narrative. This guy just continues to rate well because he understands getting out in front" ("Golic & Wingo," ESPN, 3/6). But NBC Sports Bay Area's Ray Ratto said, "We're talking about taking the problem that college coaches deal with now and skipping the college thing entirely and making it the problem of the (NBA) general managers. ... I don't know what you've really done except shift the problem" ("The Happy Hour," NBC Sports Bay Area, 3/5).

MINOR LEAGUE NEEDS WORK: NBC Sports Bay Area's Greg Papa said the NBA is "going to have to beef up the G League." Papa: "They'll have to pay them more." NBC Sports Bay Area's Keli Johnson said, "There's no incentive to go to the G League if you know you can go to Kentucky and get a ton of money under the table, which will continue to happen" ("The Happy Hour," NBC Sports Bay Area, 3/5).

IT'S ABOUT SCHOOL: Kentucky coach John Calipari said, “Why wouldn’t you have a [rule like] baseball and make them stay three years? I’m going to say it again: This is totally a different deal. If you get the top 10 or 15 kids to go directly to the NBA do you really need a one- or two- or three-year rule? No, because if they were that good they wouldn’t have gone to college, they would have gone straight to the NBA. So now they’ll stay two or three years" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 3/6). In N.Y., Frank Isola writes if the top 15-30 high school seniors joined the NBA each year, college basketball and the NCAA Tournament "won't suffer." Isola: "So why, other than providing room and board, should the NCAA pay its players?" The "brand" in college basketball is the "school and the head coach." The brand in the NBA "is the player." That is why the NCAA "should want the 'one-and-done' rule thrown away." The NBA is "taking on the bigger risk if it eliminates 'one-and-done.'" It also puts a "greater premium on scouting and player development" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/6).

KEEP IT ABOUT THE KIDS: Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, "One of the things the NCAA needs to look at is, if a kid signs with an agent and he doesn't get drafted, welcome him back. ... We talk about amateurism and all this stuff, but if you're truly trying to do what's right for the kid, and the kid declares for the draft and doesn't get drafted, you know what? Welcome him back. Do something good for the kids" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/6). ESPN's Jay Bilas said, "I don't blame the NBA for doing whatever is in its best interest as a business and industry. The problem I have is with the college sports industry and our inability to do what is right by the players. We continue to say that if you don't want to be Bill Bradley, we don't want you at all. ... I go back to the Bill Bradley thing because it’s elitist. There is a difference between being elite and elitist. The NCAA right now, we have become elitist” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 3/5).

PAYMENT PLAN: In DC, Barry Svrluga writes at some point, the idea of not paying college athletes in revenue-generating sports "will seem as outdated as prohibition." Svrluga: "It will be fixed. Except waiting hasn’t proved to work. Someone, something, needs to force change." The FBI investigation "has the college sports world spooked," but maybe the investigation "should be embraced." Maybe the only way to watch March Madness "isn’t with the earplugs in and the blinders on, but understanding that a sport that’s in desperate need of change may soon be forced into it" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/6).