The NBA's one-and-done rule is reportedly on its way out.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the NBA and NBPA are expected to move the draft-eligibility age back down to 18 as part of a new collective bargaining agreement. The change could come as soon as the 2024 NBA draft.
The two sides reportedly have positive momentum as they work toward a new agreement—but there is still work to do.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweeted out some of the obstacles that the two sides must get past:
The current CBA expires after the 2023-24 season.
A clause in the deal allows both sides to immediately open formal CBA negotiations by Dec. 15. If the current CBA is reopened, it's a virtual certainty a new deal is on the horizon. If the current deal carries over to 2023-24, it will be a mechanism to give the two sides time to talk but also increases the potential for a work stoppage.
Protection of player mental health is also among the chief negotiating points for the union. The players are seeking to have their mental health be a possible designation for missing time, similar to physical health.
This new policy would likely avoid a situation similar to the one Ben Simmons faced last season when the Philadelphia 76ers fined him for missing games as he cited mental-health concerns. (The two sides later reached a financial settlement on a grievance that Simmons filed.)
NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio said players have also been making a push to have equity in the sport beyond their playing careers:
"Creating generational wealth is critically important in this next chapter of the Union. It's critical to their legacy. Historically we have been so focused on making money—salary cap, etc.—but we all know that to have money, you've got to invest. We also know that the uncertain lifespan (of an NBA career) makes it crucial to plan for what happens after the ball stops bouncing—creating this generational wealth.
"Thinking about the players' contributions to the game and how they can be compensated for it will mean there will have to be more equity structures in place. It could be the sale of a team. It could be the deals they are entering where they are receiving equity beyond the four or five years that a contract exists. It's much broader, and I don't think historically we've looked at it. It's been the here and now."
While most fans have little investment in the financial battles between millionaires and billionaires, the end of one-and-done would have an immediate impact across the league. The NBA implemented a rule requiring players to be at least one year removed from high school starting with the 2006 draft.
That change came amid a rash of prep-to-pro busts and essentially turned college basketball into a glorified minor league. Young superstars would arrive on campus, ball out and then leave within months of their arrival.
While the rule created a fair share of one-and-done legends, it's hard to say it's made the draft-evaluation process any more precise. Draft busts still happen on a regular basis, largely at the same rate they did under the prep-to-pro format.
The NBA seemingly recognized its mistake in recent years by launching the G League Ignite team, which features high-level prospects earning a salary rather than taking the collegiate route. Both sides appear to acknowledge it's better to cut out the middleman and allow 18-year-olds to join the league again—especially now that the G League has a stronger developmental system in place.