The NBA and NBAPA are negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that will expire in 2024, although either side can opt out of the deal by Dec. 15. The new CBA will likely come with numerous rules changes — one of those being the age eligibility for drafts.
Since 2005, the draft eligibility age has been 19 years old, eliminating the possibility of high school players going straight to the NBA. In recent years, both sides have spoken of a desire to return to the 18-year-old minimum in the next CBA.
In whichever year the change is made, the shift will produce what some are calling a “double draft” because it would contain both the one-and-dones who had to go to college for a year to be draft eligible and the members of that year’s high school graduating class.
Any team holding a large number of high picks in the “double draft” year should receive a big payoff, which brings us to the Thunder.
Oklahoma City has a well-documented massive supply of draft picks in the 2020s. And, as of right now, the Thunder have four first-round picks in 2024:
Their own pick
The LA Clippers’ unprotected first-round pick
A top-four protected Houston Rockets pick
A top-10 protected Utah Jazz pick
The less favorable second-round pick between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Charlotte Hornets.
The possibility of four first-round picks — though the Jazz’ pick is doubtful since they will be in the middle of a rebuilding process in 2024 — enables the Thunder to add significant talent.
The Thunder will likely be an up-and-coming young team with the chance of making the playoffs in 2024 due to their core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chet Holmgren, Josh Giddey, Lu Dort and whoever they add in the 2023 NBA draft.