NBA's Silver Indicates Time May Be Right To End One-And-Done
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made it clear during a press conference yesterday that there is "growing support for a change that would allow players to enter the league at the age of 18 rather than require them to play one year of college basketball -- or internationally," according to Sam Amick of USA TODAY. Such a move would have to be "collectively bargained" with the NBPA, but Silver’s tone on this topic at the league’s annual summer BOG meeting was the "strongest sign yet that it’s only a matter of time." Silver sent a memo to teams last month indicating the change "would not come any earlier" than the '21 Draft, and that timeline "appears to still be intact" (USA TODAY, 7/11). ESPN's Rachel Nichols tweeted, "Silver on re-setting the NBA’s age limit back to 18 years old: 'My personal view is that we’re ready to make that change.' Translation: this is going to happen" (TWITTER.com, 7/10).
CONDI CRUSH: In Boston, Gary Washburn notes the Commission on College Basketball, led by Condoleezza Rice, suggested in an April report that the "one-and-done rule should be banished and high school graduates should be allowed to enter the draft." Silver said, "When I’ve weighed the pros and cons, given that Condoleezza Rice and her commission has recommended to the NBA that those one-and-done players now come directly into the league, and in essence the college community is saying we do not want those players anymore, that sort of tips the scale in my mind that we should be taking a serious look at lowering our age to 18" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/11). NBPA Exec Dir Michele Roberts said that the decision to "change the age limit and when it will be implemented could come in the next few months." Roberts: "It’s been something that has been top of mind for him, for the teams, and for us. It was, of course, a topic of discussion among the players. So, stay tuned" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/11).
DOES EVERYONE HAVE A CHANCE? Silver said that the league "can create a better system" through its next CBA to "improve the league’s competitive balance." Silver: "I’m not here to say we have a problem, and I love where the league is right now." He added, "I don’t necessarily think it’s necessarily, per se, bad that the Warriors are so dominant. As I’ve said before, we’re not trying to create some forced parity. What we really focus on is parity of opportunity, and a fair point can be made in a tax system when certain teams are spending significantly more than others that that’s not parity of opportunity." Silver said that league officials will "continue to discuss the issue with its labor relations committee" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 7/11). Silver: "Michele is not going to get a call from me complaining about competitive balance. I think it’s on me and our labor relations committee ultimately to get with the players and their committee to convince them there may be a better way to do things" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/11). In Boston, Steve Bulpett notes despite the fact the NBA does "very well interest-wise when there are dominant teams, Silver has clearly heard the complaints" that the Warriors have the '18-19 championship "under lock and key and is looking to foster hope in more cities" (BOSTON HERALD, 7/11).
TAKING A GAMBLE: Silver reiterated that he would "like to see" the NBA receive a 1% fee on "bets placed." Silver: "It’s one of the issues we’re talking to states about. We’re also very focused on how the data will be used and how we can protect the integrity of the league. We’ve made more progress on some of those other issues." He said that the NBA is "'talking directly to' gaming companies regarding professional relationships." Silver: "We should be compensated for our intellectual property, but we can do that directly with commercial relationships with gaming establishments" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 7/11).
CHANGES LOOMING: NBCSPORTS.com's Dane Carbaugh noted Silver has confirmed that the league will move the timeline for '19 NBA free agency up from this year's 12:00am ET to be "more accommodating to a TV audience." The NBA has been "great at getting more eyeballs on its product." TV is still the NBA’s "best friend, and switching things up so one of the biggest events of the year is on the boob tube is just being a good business partner" (NBCSPORTS.com, 7/10). Meanwhile, Silver said that seeding teams 1-through-16 in the playoffs has "'real appeal' but would take time to implement" (ESPN.com, 7/10). The Washington Post's Tim Bontemps tweeted, "Silver says the biggest thing preventing going 1-16 for the playoffs is travel. Again, what the issue actually is is that half the teams in the NBA have no incentive to vote to change the playoffs. And 2/3 of the teams have to vote to change them" (TWITTER.com, 7/10).