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Adam Silver Talks Age Limit, NBA Free Agency’s Timing

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The NBA Commissioner discussed upcoming changes at a news conference following the league’s board of governors meetings this week.

NBA: NBA Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

While NBA Summer League is going on in Las Vegas, so are league meetings with many major figures converging to talk about the state of the league. Commissioner Adam Silver is ready to make changes to the NBA’s age limit rule, according to quotes attributed to him by the Washington Post.

“My personal view is that we’re ready to make that change,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday at the end of his news conference following the league’s board of governors meetings this week, adding that the change won’t be immediate.

Discussions have been ongoing between the league and the Players Association for months about changing the age limit from where it currently stands — 19 years old and a year removed from high school for domestic players; 19 years old for international players — to 18 years old, which would return the league to the days of players jumping straight from high school to the NBA.

There has been some anticipation that the NBA may lift the age limit in the near future, which would create a potential “super-draft” featuring the last year of traditional one-and-done’s as well as the outgoing high school seniors that would be eligible to go straight to the NBA.

The start of free agency was also a topic discussed. Silver intimated that he would aim to have free agency kick off earlier in the day as a way to allow the nearly endless stream of breaking news to come out before midnight EST on July 1.

That will allow the NBA to turn the free agent feeding frenzy that takes place each summer into a televised spectacle in a way that, even with ESPN broadcasting wall-to-wall coverage this year, can’t take place currently with the late-night start time.

“I not only heard from my friends in the media, but as I get older, I think we are all tired of all-nighters,” Silver said with a smile. “I also heard from several teams, ‘Does this really have to be at midnight?’ I think that’s something we need to find agreement on with the Players Association, but I think we can change it for next year.”

Silver also brought up the highly debated topic of competitive balance in the league.

For his part, Silver said that while he understands there are always going to be limitations on what can be done as far as competitive balance in a league in which one star player can have an outsize impact, he said there still is more work that can be done.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily, per se, bad that the Warriors are so dominant,” Silver said. “Like I’ve said before, we’re not trying to create some forced parity. What we are really focused on is parity of opportunity. … There are unique issues, and even as I said during the NBA Finals, LeBron [James] had 59 teammates over the past eight years.

“So we recognize great players, superstar players, are going to have a unique abilities to impact games. But, having said that, there are changes we can make to the system that I think will create more competitive balance and more equality of opportunity, and those are things we look at.”

Do you agree with the changes Silver is debating? Are there other issues that should be a focus as well? Let us know in the comments.