June 16, 2018 / 3:22 AM / a month ago

Reports: NBA memo says draft eligibility could change in 2021

The NBA sent a memo to all 30 teams on Friday saying the draft’s “eligibility rules” could change as soon as 2021 based on a review of issues “related to player development and the corruption investigation in college basketball,” according to an ESPN report.

Jun 8, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver presents the Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game four of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN, the memo does not specifically mention the league’s one-and-done rule — which currently prevents players from entering the NBA until age 19 or a year removed from high school — but it indicates that rule could be eliminated “prior to the 2021 or 2022 draft.” The memo presented the information in the context of next week’s NBA draft, per ESPN, serving as a reminder to teams that could be considering trading future picks in the lead up to the draft.

According to USA Today, the league does not anticipate changes to its eligibility rules before the 2021 or 2022 drafts, but nevertheless noted the possibility in the memo.

No changes will happen before 2021, according to multiple reports.

The elimination of the one-and-done rule would very likely make the ensuing draft — whether in 2021 or beyond — much more talent-rich than a typical draft by featuring much of the top talent from consecutive high school classes in one draft.

Only one unprotected first-round pick from the 2021 draft has been traded so far — from the Heat to the Suns — and two others could change hands — one from the Grizzlies to the Celtics and one from the Bucks to the Suns — depending on whether picks fall within protected ranges in 2019 and 2020. No 2022 first-round picks have been traded as of yet.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBA players association director Michele Roberts have each said in recent months that removing the one-and-done rule at some point is likely. Any such change would have to be collectively bargained, but it would not have to wait for the current CBA to expire in 2024.

Headed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Commission on College Basketball recommended in April that the NBA remove the rule, asking for action as soon as this year. The commission also suggested it would look at making changes on the NCAA side of things if the NBA rule doesn’t change.

The league is expected to discuss eligibility rules and other potential approaches to combat issues with one-and-done recruits at its summer meetings in Las Vegas.

—Field Level Media

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