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NBA Officially Proposes Lowering Draft Age to 18

The initial proposal, which would re-open to doors to high-school grads entering the NBA, targets the 2022 draft

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NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA has officially proposed a rules change which would lower the minimum age for NBA Draft candidates from 19 to 18. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports broke the story yesterday. The so-called “one and done rule”, requiring high school graduates to wait a year before becoming draft-eligible, has been in force since 2006. The initial rules change proposal targets the 2022 NBA Draft as the first year the change would go into effect.

Both the league and the NBA Players Association would need to agree to the change. The timing allows teams to prepare for the “super draft” which would result in the initial year, as the latent crop of 19-year-olds and now-eligible high school seniors would both enter the same draft, in effect doubling the talent pool for one year. Draft picks that summer would presumably increase in value.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports that the proposed age change is not the only issue the league and the players’ union are debating. Along with a reduction in age, the NBA is pushing for draft combine participation and equitable release of medical records. Player agents have controlled the release of information in recent years to steer their clients towards or away from certain organizations.

“We’re investing millions of dollars into players who we’ll now have even less information about coming out of high school, and we should have the right to have all the information available on who we are selecting,” one general manager told ESPN.

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement runs through the 2023-24 NBA season but both sides may agree to amend it before its expiration.