New NBA commissioner Adam Silver is picking up where predecessor David Stern left off in at least one respect: He isn't of the belief that the NBA is a young man's game.
If Silver had his way, NBA prospects would be required to spend at least two seasons playing at the NCAA level. According to Steve Reed of The Associated Press, the commissioner sees both sides of the debate and—more importantly—fully recognizes that change may take time and consensus:
I've heard all sides of the issue. I've had players say that a young man should have the right to earn a living at 18 and I've had others say we'd be a better league with more experienced players. I'm sensitive to both sides of the issue and it's not something that I could unilaterally change even if we wanted to. It's an issue that would have to be collectively bargained with our union.
Silver's position isn't a new one.
Stern indicated a desire to require an additional year for eligibility back in 2012. Silver later told USA Today's Sam Amick that his sense from speaking to those in the college basketball ranks was that "one and done is a disaster."
He further suggested that, from the NBA's perspective, he'd "been told by many NBA coaches that one of the issues with the younger guys coming into the league is they've never had an opportunity to lead."
In other words, the only party that seems remotely satisfied by the status quo is the players themselves—particularly the young ones in position to reap financial rewards a year earlier than they would under Silver's proposal.
Negotiations on a new deal will have to wait until the players' union to appoint a new president. Even then, it's hard to see an agreement arriving anytime soon. The league arrived at its decision to institute a minimum age requirement (19 years old) in 2005.
There's since been discussion about a rule change, but positions on both sides of the issue suggest that further developments won't happen overnight. Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan has actually argued that the age minimum should be abolished altogether.
Meanwhile, Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale agrees with Silver, telling Amick, "the NBA is a man's league, and I think a lot of these young guys come in early and their careers would prosper if they stayed (in college)."
Until decision-time rolls around, we can at least be assured a lively debate.