With college basketball mired in numerous scandals, the NBA is considering opening a path for elite high schoolers to jump straight to the league again, according to a report from ESPN.
The report says NBA commissioner Adam Silver and several of his top advisers have been doing due diligence on the matter for months, including formal meetings with the National Basketball Players Association about adjusting the "one-and-done" age-limit rule. The plan would also include the NBA reaching out to elite teenagers while they are still in high school in order to provide guidance to help them on and off the court.
Such would open an alternate path to the league for these prospects and give them the chance to make legitimate money, either from NBA teams or through the developmental G League, the report says, citing sources. NBA contact with teenagers would be designed to take place during the high school years prior to graduation and focused on the summer.
"We are looking at changing the relationship we have with players before they reach the NBA," a high-ranking league official tells ESPN. "This is a complex challenge, and there's still a lot of discussion about how it's going to happen, but we all see the need to step in."
Silver could present a plan within the next few months, but is waiting to see the results of the Commission on College Basketball's report this spring, according to ESPN. The commission was established by NCAA president Mark Emmert last year in hopes of cleaning up the sport following the results of FBI investigations prior to its formation and is chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
In planning the best way to guide high school prospects, the league has ruled out setting up European-style academies to house and train teenagers, according to the report.
The NBA's 2005 collective bargaining agreement changed the draft-eligible age to 19 years old, which started the "one-and-done" trend at the college level. Prior to then, young stars like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard entered the league straight out of high school.
While the names above are each success stories, there were dozens of young players whose careers didn't pan out after turning pro too early. The league's new plan seeks to avoid similar pitfalls while providing an alternative to college that could help young prospects earn money at the same time, the report details in summation.
--Field Level Media