Tom Westerholm: Jaylen Brown on the one-and-done rule: “I think if you can serve in the military at 18, you should be able to play in the NBA. That would be my argument.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver says Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan is uniquely qualified to be the chairman of the league's labor relations committee. That's because Jordan has the gravitas to credibly translate the owners' viewpoint to the players and the players' viewpoint to the owners. Silver specifically mentioned Jordan Tuesday when talking about the issues facing the league that would require compromise with the players association. Among those: competitive balance, as it relates to free agency and the salary cap, and the possibility of changing the draft-entry age for U.S. players from 19 to 18.
Jordan, a hall-of-famer, was a five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and won six championships with the Chicago Bulls. "There's no doubt that so many players look up to him. Many in our current class of superstars look across the table and think, 'That's where I want to be one day,'" Silver said in response to an Observer question. "He brings unique credibility to the table when we're having discussions (with the players) and even just among the owners, he's able to represent a player point of view. When owners are going into discussions with players, Michael can say, 'Well, look, this is how I looked at it when I was a player, and these are the kind of issues we need to address if we're going to convince players that something is in everyone's interest.''
Commissioner Adam Silver made it clear on Tuesday 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. Such a move would have to be collectively bargained with the National Basketball Players Association, but Silver’s tone on this topic was the strongest sign yet that it’s only a matter of time.
“My personal view is that we’re ready to make that change,” Silver said after the conclusion of the latest round of owners' meetings. “It won’t come immediately, but…when I weighed the pros and cons – (and) given that (former Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice and her (NCAA) 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,’ I mean that sort of tips the scale in my mind that we should be taking a serious look at lowering our age to 18.”
Jon Krawczynski: Silver on 18 year olds being draft eligible: “We’re ready to make that change. It may take some time.”
Tim Bontemps: On the subject of the age limit, Michele Roberts says, “Stay tuned.” Adds that she expects there to be some news in “the next few months” on the subject of it going away. That would seem to indicate things remain on schedule for the age limit to go away for the 2021 NBA Draft.
The NBA on Friday sent teams a memo indicating that "eligibility rules" for the draft may shift as early as 2021 (but no earlier) as the league reviews issues "related to player development and the corruption investigation in college basketball," according to a copy of the memo obtained by ESPN.
The memo does not mention the one-and-done rule by name, but it is meant to remind teams the league and the players union could agree to scrap one-and-one before the expiration of the current collective bargaining deal in 2024 -- and perhaps well before then, sources say. The memo says that as of now, the league does not expect changes in draft eligibility rules would take place at any time "prior to the 2021 or 2022 draft" -- for example in 2019 or 2020.
The 2020 NBA draft is the earliest the NBA would change its draft eligibility rule and return to the high school-to-NBA rule the league used from 1995-2005, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. There is no guarantee a new rule goes into effect in 2020, only that it won’t happen in 2019, the person said, adding further discussion needs to take place.
The NBA allows high school players to enter the G League without the wait. The Commission on College Basketball recommended Wednesday that the NBA and NBPA allow high school players to enter the draft, but college basketball has no ability to effect change on the issue. The NBA and NBPA must collectively bargain a change of the early entry rule. The Commission on College Basketball made a recommendation to allow college players who declare for the NBA draft to retain their eligibility should they go unselected in the draft.
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association's conversations on eliminating the one-and-done entry rule have centered on lowering the minimum age requirement no sooner than the 2020 draft, league sources told ESPN. NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts have discussed scenarios to end the requirement for American players to wait one year after high school graduation to enter the NBA draft, but no formal agreement could be reached before the NBPA's executive committee, including president Chris Paul, gather for a meeting at the end of the NBA playoffs in June.
Chris Mannix: NBA puts out a statement on its Commission on College Basketball report, that includes this: "Regarding the NBA’s draft eligibility rules, the NBA and NBPA will continue to assess them in order to promote the best interests of players and the game."
Adrian Wojnarowski: In the eyes of NBA executives, the only thing of value to come out of College Basketball Commission report today: The opportunity for undrafted players to return to college basketball. Even the G League can't absorb so many of these non-prospects.
Steve Kyler: It seems we are heading towards dropping one and done, most of the execs I have spoken with think it happens for 2020... we'll see if it does. It's not an NBA rule exclusively, Players Association has to approve it and that's always complicated. twitter.com/LaVarHenry/sta…
Recently, there's been a lot of talk about finding alternatives to the NCAA -- even LaVar Ball's trying to get in on the action -- but 'Reef argues that 1 year of college education is better than none. "I think they should just leave it how it is ... college gets kids ready for the NBA," O'Neal said.
Some of the big headlines in sports today press on ongoing scandals plaguing the NCAA. When asked if he thought the NBA G-League could become an alternative for young athletes not looking to play in college, Commissioner Stern was clear. “I would hope so. It’s a complete fraud the whole thing.” He continued, “I’m a harsh critic of the NCAA for taking players that they know aren’t there to learn and in many cases, don’t go to classes in their second semester. Instead they put them in online classes just to finish the year so they don’t lose their scholarships.” “So there is something very bad going on and everyone blames the NBA’s ‘one and done’ rule.” He adds, “Well the NBA doesn’t have a one and done rule; the NBA’s rules says players have to be 19; it doesn’t matter if they go to college.”
Now, though, there is turbulence, as the underbelly in the youth and college basketball systems is being exposed. The NBA has watched it unfold. Seeing both a responsibility as the world's leading basketball league and an opportunity to move in on valuable territory, the league is preparing to get involved again with elite high school basketball players, multiple sources told ESPN. Current NBA commissioner Adam Silver and several of his top 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 National Basketball Players Association about adjusting the so-called "one-and-done" age-limit rule. But Silver's aim is much more comprehensive than simply re-opening the door for 18-year-olds to play in the NBA, sources said.
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. 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 developmental G League, sources said.
"We're spending a lot of time on [youth basketball]. I think there is a big opportunity, on a global basis, focus on elite players in terms of better training, better fitness, so that they ultimately can be successful at the highest level," Silver said during All-Star Weekend. "That is something from a league standpoint, together with our teams, we're putting an enormous amount of energy and resources into." 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, sources said. This academy concept has been floated for years, notably by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
"We realize that the whole issue of the one-and-done is that we don't operate in isolation, and where we choose to set with our players' association, the minimum age has a direct impact on college basketball as well," Silver said. "We're not by any means rushing through this. I think this is a case where, actually, outside of the cycle of collective bargaining, we can spend more time on it with the players' association, talking to the individual players, talking to the executive board and really trying to understand the pros and cons of potentially moving the age limit."
Ten years ago, then-prep basketball phenom Brandon Jennings decided not to take the one-and-done college route to Arizona and instead opted to play professionally in Italy for a year with a lucrative shoe contract in hand. Looking back, the eight-year NBA veteran who most recently played in China has no regrets about his move. And with the FBI now cracking down on college stars receiving extra benefits without getting paid by the NCAA, the current G League Wisconsin Herd guard believes that elite high school stars should consider playing in the G League or overseas instead of taking the one-and-done route in the “billion-dollar business” of the NCAA. “My decision was for me,” Jennings said. “I always feel bad for the kids because I always felt like the kids should get paid in college, at least something. The NCAA is a billion-dollar business. You’re telling a kid like [Oklahoma’s] Trae Young, who is killing it and you’re telling me alumni or someone else can’t take him out to a nice dinner?"
Vincent Ellis: Stan Van Gundy dropped this gem on the one-and-done rule: “People that were against (players) coming out (of high school) made a lot of excuses, but I think a lot of it was racist. I’ve never heard anybody go up in arms about (minor-league baseball or hockey)."
Vincent Ellis: Stan Van Gundy on the college basketball scandal: “The NCAA is one of the worst organizations – maybe the worst organization – in sports. They certainly don’t care about the athlete.” #Pistons.
One issue is, of course, the one-and-done rule, where ballers play one year of college because NBA eligibility requires them to be one year removed from high school. Warriors forward Kevin Durant, for one, thinks the rule should be done away with. “You want these players to go out there and play on the biggest stage," he said in a video captured by The Athletic's Anthony Slater. "The Final Four is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, in sports, and they don’t get a dime for it. I don’t think it’s right. They go out there. They slave for these programs. To go out there and win a championship. These fans go to the game to see these players. Just like the NBA, they want to see the best players.”
August 17, 2022 | 8:47 pm EDT Update
Tommy Beer: Stephen A Smith on SiriumXM w/ @Rick Kamla this afternoon when asked about potential Mitchell deal: “Utah didn’t want Julius Randle, from what I’m told. They don’t want him. The Knicks were willing to unload him. They want RJ Barrett. They want at least 6 1st-round picks.” pic.twitter.com/9Nn7DuwlZe
I knew if we could win Game 3 and go to 3-0, it was pretty much a wrap on the series. It was just a matter of whether [the series would be won] in Game 4 or a “gentleman’s sweep” in Game 5. Down the stretch in the fourth quarter, we got a stop, and I was just talking to myself: “Put ‘em to sleep. Put ‘em to sleep.” That was the conversation I was having with myself. Not with anyone else on the team or anyone else in the arena. Then, I had finished that layup underneath Jokic, and that was the thought that came out – just to do the sign. I didn’t say, “Night Night” at the time. I was just telling myself, “Put ‘em to sleep.” Fast forward to Game 5, when I made the last layup to go up five with 19 seconds left. That was the official, “Put them to sleep.” The camera didn’t get me on that one, but I actually said it. Fast forward to Memphis, Dallas and then Boston, and it kind of took on a life of its own.
NDP: How did it feel to break it out again in Boston and seal the Finals win? SC: It felt the best. The way that game went, it was an emotional rollercoaster. They came out just hitting every shot, and they were up double digits in the first four minutes. We slowly just crept back and then went on that 21-nothing run. When we came out in the third quarter, everyone was feeling it. Let’s just step on their throats, right now.
NDP: What’s it been like seeing athletes from sports all around the world doing the celebration? SC: It’s the best, ’cause some are taking it to new extremes that I would never feel comfortable doing in the league. But it’s dope to know how far the reach is. I’ve told people before, “I know there’s people that did the symbol before me.” But to know that you cemented a moment that’s on the biggest of stages, and people are inspired by it and want to have fun with whatever they’re doing with it — they’ve taken their own spin on it and have had some creativity with it.
August 17, 2022 | 7:21 pm EDT Update
CJ Holmes: Here’s all four of the Warriors’ long road trips this season: Oct. 29 – Nov 4: Charlotte, Detroit, Miami, Orlando, New Orleans Dec. 13 – 27: Milwaukee, Indiana, Philadelphia, Toronto, New York, Brooklyn Jan 13 – 20: San Antonio, Chicago, Washington, Boston, Cleveland
Jason Dumas: Looks like a local artist in the LA area has painted a mural of JTA in Inglewood. It’ll be unveiled to the public tomorrow. I realized how impactful Juan was at the first Mexican-American to win an NBA Finals during the Warriors parade. Cool stuff. pic.twitter.com/rTPdj8Op4c
August 17, 2022 | 5:43 pm EDT Update
Marc Stein: The NBA’s new schedule has 55 baseball-style series in which the road team plays the same foe twice in a row without travel … up from 23 last season. Plus 33 instances on the schedule in which the road team stays in LA or New York to play both local teams on the same trip.