The NBA and the league’s players union have resumed talks about lowering the league’s minimum age to 18 in a move that would end the so-called one-and-done era, ESPN.com reported Wednesday, citing unidentified league sources.
Not only are the sides discussing reducing the age limit by a year, but they also are targeting the 2022 NBA Draft for the new rule to take effect, according to the report, an aggressive enough timeline that the talks have been “infused with urgency as the clock ticks.”
The 2022 draft is close enough on the horizon that the sides ideally could come to an agreement on the age limit because, teams say, it could affect trades they might consider as early as this spring.
“So far, the NBA’s pursuit of NBPA concessions in the areas of mandating that draft prospects furnish teams with medical information and an additional requirement that would center on attendance and participation at the NBA pre-draft combine remain obstacles to a deal, league sources said.”
No matter when a new age limit takes effect — and it’s likely a matter of when, not if — the first year of the new limit will be marked by an influx of young talent because graduating high school seniors newly eligible for the NBA Draft would join the last crop of one-and-done players who weren’t eligible for the previous draft as 18-year-olds.
In preparation for the possibility that the 2022 draft is when players could resume making the jump from high school directly to the NBA, the league and USA Basketball have reached an agreement that will allow NBA front-office personnel to scout the USA Men’s 16U National Team beginning in May, ESPN’s league sources said.
Previously, NBA teams could scout only the USA Men’s 18U National Team, but this crop of 16U players would be eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft under the discussed younger minimum age.
Top players from the high school class of 2022 were among 55 high school boys players who took part over the weekend in the USA Basketball Junior National Team’s April training camp in Bloomington, Minnesota.
NBA teams will scout U16 players as they prepare for the FIBA Americas U16 Championship that will be contested June 3-9 in Belém, Brazil.