With the recent “discovery” of the corruption that is the backbone of the NCAA, the NBA has decided to make some drastic changes.
As of Monday morning, NBA commissioner, Adam Silver has begun looking into ways to change the one-and-done rule. The NBA is the most powerful basketball institute in the world. They have the power to capitalize on the talents of these young kids, while giving them the opportunity to make money for themselves, instead of the NCAA.
His plan to end this silly rule, is by expanding the resources of the NBA G-League. We have seen vast improvements in the talent, and development of players who have been brought through this system.
Beginning in the 2017 offseason, NBA rosters expanded from 15 to 17 players with the addition of two spots for players under “Two-Way Contracts.” NBA teams may have up to two players under NBA Two-Way Contracts who will spend the majority of the season in the NBA G-League and not more than 45 days with their NBA team. Two-Way players are paid a corresponding daily amount based on the number of days they play in each league(about $75,000 a year). This type of contract is only available to players with four or fewer years of NBA service, and can be for either one or two seasons.
The current G-League has 26 teams, with almost every NBA franchise having an affiliate. The Washington Wizards will be adding their own team for the 2018-2019 season, bringing the league to 27 teams.
The NBA does not want to stop with just opening the G-League to elite high school players. They want access to their lives. The NBA is heavily focused on the area they have limited access to, and that is during their high school years, and after high school graduation/college.
One of the biggest arguments for the age limit is that these kids’ bodies are not ready for the toll of an NBA season. The NBA would like to start providing skills to help develop these athletes on and off of the court. The league could bring in some of its experts to advise high-level prospects on training methods, recovery, nutrition and life skills. The kids would also be given access to professional coaching and playing techniques that could better translate to the professional game and make the eventual transition to the NBA, G League or even high-level college basketball easier. This would allow for an alternative path for athletes, instead of playing for the NCAA. This would allow for athletes who need the money to earn a meaningful salary to help their families.
Of course, a plan is not going to happen over night. We have seen Silver be very detailed and methodical in the past. He wants what is best for the league and the players. The league does want to wait for Commission on College Basketball to present its report this spring. Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts have appeared before the commission, which is chaired by Condoleezza Rice.
“We are looking at changing the relationship we have with players before they reach the NBA,” one high-ranking league official said. “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.”
“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.
Over the past few weeks, major influential voices such as former President Barack Obama and LeBron James, a vice president of the players’ union, have called for the NBA to expand its G League to give teenagers another option besides the NCAA route. The current NCAA president, Mark Emmert has said repeatedly he doesn’t believe players should come to college if only to use it as a pit stop toward being in the NBA.
As Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported, 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.
These academies would’ve been modeled after European-style operations that soccer and basketball franchises use and after the NBA’s own international academies. The NBA currently operates three academies in China, one in India and one in Senegal and has a global academy with prospects from across the planet at the Australia Institute of Sport. They recently opened another academy in Mexico City to serve standout Latin American teens.
The NBA currently permits 18-year-olds in the G League, but the salaries are not competitive. Currently, G-League players can earn a maximum of $26,000 per season. For these young, and talent players, this just is not worth risking your body to injury for. Former prospects such as Brandon Jennings, Emmanuel Mudiay and Terrance Ferguson played overseas and earned as much as $1 million while waiting to be eligible to be drafted. They all went in the first round. A lot of people argue that they were not properly developed, missed out on playing time, did not face media scrutiny, and therefore have had rocky careers so far.
The rest of the world is already a leader on separating sports from academics. The Australian National Basketball League, where Ferguson played last year before being drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder, has opened a window for players looking to go this route. Perhaps in an attempt to get ahead of the NBA, the NBL has just announced the “Next Stars” program, creating roster spots for players who want to develop in Australia starting next season. ESPN has reported it will come with a salary of 100,000 Australian dollars, or about $78,000 in U.S currency.
These are just a handful of ideas that the NBA could do, and many more are on the table. These changes would require amendments to the collective bargaining agreement with players, and the current one isn’t up until 2024. But Silver and Roberts are trying to work together on this so that amendments can be made in the short term and also trying to use the unrest in college basketball to find a way to make changes that can hopefully help the entire youth basketball environment.