MIAMI — The NBA and its players are continuing to move forward on plans to eliminate the "one-and-done" rule in college basketball, something that the sides have been working toward for months.
The league has sent a proposal to the National Basketball Players Association on lowering the minimum age for entering the NBA draft from 19 to 18, and the union discussed the contents at a meeting in the Bahamas earlier this week, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither side released the proposal publicly.
USA Today Sports first reported the proposal being sent.
The proposal changed hands before All-Star weekend and long before Duke star Zion Williamson, quite possibly the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, got hurt Wednesday night. Williamson was diagnosed Thursday with a Grade 1, or minor, sprain of his right knee. Williamson, a freshman, is widely expected to be in the NBA next season and forgo his final three seasons of collegiate eligibility.
Neither the league nor the players’ union has hidden the fact that both sides want the current system changed. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last July that it was time to revert back to the policy that will allow players to go into the league right out of high school, something that will have to be collectively bargained with the players.
The NBPA has had previous talks with the NBA on the idea, which is likely to be in place by the 2022 draft.
"I think it’s a good idea," Boston’s Jayson Tatum, who went to the NBA after one season at Duke, said at All-Star weekend. "If you’re good enough to come out of high school, I feel like you should be able to. But I don’t make those decisions."
Golden State’s DeMarcus Cousins, who played at Kentucky, told reporters Thursday that knowing what he knows now makes him question why players need to play college basketball — especially if they’re NBA-ready.
"I don’t understand the point of it," Cousins said about the ‘one-and-done’ rule. "What’s the difference between 18 and 19 and 17 and 18? You’re immature, you’re young, you’re ignorant to life in general. So what’s really the difference? You’ve still got a lot of growing to do as a man."
The one-and-done rule has been in place since the 2006 draft. Silver, who was once a proponent of raising the draft minimum age to 20 before changing his mind, said last year that he believes the league and the players "can create a better system." The G League also introduced a plan last year to begin offering "select contracts" worth $125,000 to elite prospects who are not yet eligible for the NBA.