Sign in / Join

Changes looming in NBA draft

From Sports Business News:

"NBA commissioner David Stern would like to call this class, 'the last group of teenagers to enter the league.'

Stern has been outspoken about his desire to implement a 20-year-old age limit for the next collective bargaining agreement and/or expanding the NBDL to include players who have no desire to set foot on a college campus.

He has a keen interest in the developments of the court case involving former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett. Clarett challenged the NFL's rule that players must be three years removed from high school to be eligible for the NFL draft. In April, a federal Appeals Court issued a stay siding with the league, denying Clarett draft entry.

NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik said the league submitted an argument in support of the NFL during the case, and it is believed that the rule will stand up. If it does, legal experts contend the NBA could be cleared to unilaterally create an age restriction.

'I think the door is open,' said Gary Roberts, the deputy dean of Tulane's law school and noted sports expert. '[Stern] would have no worries about legal challenges.'

But Stern said he wants input from the National Basketball Players Association when the two sides discuss the next collective bargaining agreement this summer. Ever since Spencer Haywood struck down in 1971 the rule against drafting players before their college eligibility expires, the NBA has required only that a player's high school class has graduated.

'It could just as easily be after three years of college, like in the NFL,' Stern said, recently. 'I think some place in between would be fine.'

The union appears to be split on having an age limit. But it may be willing to accept one if they are offered concessions such as higher minimum salaries for veterans or a higher percentage of revenues. "

The NBA may be in a precarious position though. With the growth of the game in Europe, foreign competition for talent could limit the effectiveness of an NBA ban on teenagers. If next year's LeBron James signed a contract to play in Italy, would the NBA ban be doing him any favors?