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Age limit for NBA Draft to be discussed

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a news

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a news conference before Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 1, 2017. Credit: AP / Jeff Chiu

OAKLAND, Calif. — NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league and the NBA Players Association will take the next year to study the possibility of changing the eligibility rules for the draft. Silver cited concern about curtailing the burgeoning number of one-and-done players leaving college to enter the NBA Draft.

During collective-bargaining negotiations, the league asked to raise the minimum age for eligibility from 19 to 20 while the union sought to lower the age to 18. Both sides agreed to table that discussion in order to finalize a new CBA.

“I think we all agreed that we need to make a change,” Silver said. “This year, the projection is that we’re going to have 20 one-and-done players coming and actually being drafted. When we first changed the minimum age from 18 to 19, the following year in 2006, we had two one-and-done players. So my sense is that it’s not working for anyone.”

Silver said NBA teams believe players coming from the U.S. college ranks after just one year aren’t as well-prepared as they should be, and of course, colleges would prefer to hold on to their best players longer. Silver drew a distinction with many international players entering the league after already having as much as three years of professional experience with club teams.

The opening of the NBA Finals was marred a day earlier by an incident in which a Los Angeles home owned by Cavaliers star LeBron James was vandalized by someone who spray-painted a racial epithet on the front gate. James cited it as evidence that a deep vein of racism persists in America and the world, and Silver echoed those remarks.

“It’s a sad state of affairs,” Silver said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that we still live with these types of issues in our society. I think there’s a strong history in this league of speaking out on issues of inequality, of racial injustice. LeBron himself has been incredibly articulate on these issues, as he was the other day. I think this platform we have in sports is an opportunity to continue to unify people.”

Silver also was questioned about comments Knicks president Phil Jackson made about his desire to trade Carmelo Anthony and whether there will be any discipline. “We did not consider disciplining Phil Jackson for those comments about potentially trading Carmelo,” Silver said. “The view of the league is that it’s not reciprocal. Players can’t trade themselves. Teams can trade players. So there’s never been a history of fining a team or disciplining a team executive for talking about trading a player.”

Silver touched on a host of other issues, most notably saying the league agreed to add one week to the schedule next season to allow more rest between games and cut down on instances of teams resting starters who are not injured. He agreed there is a correlation between fatigue and injury and added, “A certain amount of resting is inevitable and appropriate.”

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