Report: NBA to Build Relationships with HS Prospects, G League Option Discussed

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17:  NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks onstage during the All-Star Press Conference at Staples Center on February 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Amid the multiple scandals rocking college basketball, the NBA is reportedly in the process of adjusting the current "one-and-done rule" that mandates players can only enter the league one year removed from the graduation year of their high school class.

Part of the league's plan is to build a structure for young players seeking to enter the NBA, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com:

"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."

Per Windhorst, the NBA is hoping to foster relationships with players during both high school and after high school but before they are ready to enter the NBA.

"We are looking at changing the relationship we have with players before they reach the NBA," a high-ranking league official told Windhorst. "This is a complex challenge, and there's still a lot of discussion about how it's going to happen, but we all see the need to step in."

A number of options reportedly have been explored, such as opening academies that would house and train elite high school prospects, though the league is not going "down the academy path at this time," per Windhorst. Other ideas being floated include more mentorship programs with young players, fixing some of the flaws in the AAU system and expanding the NBA's two-way contracts to 18-year-olds, essentially allowing younger players to play in the G League under more competitive salaries comparable to what they might receive going overseas.

With a number of NCAA programs, coaches, players and ancillary figures being investigated by the FBI for fraud and corruption within the recruiting process, a number of prominent voices have decried the institution and called for the NBA to offer an alternative to college basketball, including LeBron James, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com:

"I'm not a fan of the NCAA. I love watching March Madness. I think that's incredible. I'm not a fan of how the kids don't benefit from none of this, so it's kind of a fine line and I've got a couple boys that could be headed in that direction, so there's going to be some decisions that we as a family have to make.

"But I know, as the NBA, we have to figure out a way that we can shore up our farm league, and if kids feel like they don't want to be a part of that NCAA program, then we have something here for them to be able to jump back on and not have to worry about going overseas all the time, I guess."

Former President Barack Obama concurred. 

"It's just not a sustainable way of doing business," he said of the NCAA during a panel at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference last week, per Scott Gleeson of USA Today. "Then when everybody acts shocked that some kid from extraordinarily poor circumstances who's got 5, 10, 15 million dollars waiting for him is going to be circled by everybody in a context in which people are making billions of dollars, it's not good." 

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