May 11, 2012, 11:00 AM EST
It sure seems like it, right?
The latest round of speculation was started by Steve Kerr, who posted this essay on Grantland discussing the benefits, for the NBA’s business side, of forcing kids to spend at least two years in college. And whether or not you actually agree with what Kerr wrote, the reaction that the essay generated makes one believe that his opinion is the general consensus for NBA people.
More importantly, what Kerr wrote seems to have gotten the wheels of the decision-makers turning.
“The NBPA’s position on the age limit has been consistent,” union spokesperson Dan Wasserman told Andy Katz on Thursday. “An overwhelming majority of the NBPA’s members support the ability of potential NBA players to freely pursue their livelihood by allowing high school graduate-age players to apply for the draft. As a practical matter, we recognize that any change to the current rule must sufficiently balance both the league’s and players’ interests.”
And how would the NBA go about doing that?
The NBPA wants the owners to give rookies more money if they stay in school and provide a quicker path to free agency for those players.
“In our view, an increase in the age limitation benefits the teams and owners in a variety of ways,” Wasserman said. “These benefits include a reduction in compensation paid to some of the league’s best players over the course of their careers. Although we are always willing to discuss any topic with the NBA, it will be difficult to make any progress in this area if the league seeks unilateral concessions from the players.”
The NBPA also said that if the NBA wants to involve the NCAA in the cost of insurance for the top players who stay in school longer, then they should also give up something to the players association.
Will any of this actually happen? Who knows, but, as Eamonn Brennan points out, the fact that this is actually being discussed and negotiated — even if it is only the two sides battling with quotes in the press — is evidence that the change is being considered. That’s more than can be said about the negotiations for the new CBA last winter.
And while my personal belief is that it is wrong to keep an 18 year old out of the NBA when someone is willing to pay him millions, my selfish side wants to see this rule put into place. Think about it like this: does anyone other than Louisville fans think it’s bad for college hoops to keep Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on a college campus for another year?
This is not a decision that will be made anytime soon, but it is a process to keep a close eye on this summer.
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