The NBA has long been discussing with its players’ association the abolishment of the so-called “one-and-done” rule, which precludes players from entering the draft for one year out of high school, but four months after alerting teams that a change could come as soon as 2021, momentum has slowed.
As the two sides continue to negotiate dropping the draft-eligible age limit to 18, the league informed all 30 teams that the current rule will not be lifted until at least 2022, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
This news follows the announcement that the G League will increase “professional path” contracts for high school graduates from $35,000 to $125,000, creating further incentive for players to choose the NBA’s developmental league as an alternative to spending one year in college or a season overseas.
What does this mean to value of future NBA draft picks?
It’s no secret that NBA teams have been stockpiling future draft picks in the hopes that they are loaded for bear whenever the age limit is lifted and that one draft is filled with both one-and-done prospects and elite high school players. Any first-round pick that season could be worth the equivalent of a lottery pick in a normal year, and general managers have been planning accordingly.
Prior to the draft this past June, the league issued a memo alerting teams that it does not anticipate changes to the one-and-done rule “prior to the 2021 or 2022 draft,” according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe. The memo also warned teams to hold draft picks in higher value given the likelihood of a change: “As we approach the NBA Draft on June 21, and the increase in trade activity that often accompanies it, please be reminded of this ongoing review and the possibility that the eligibility rules could change.”
The expected date of those changes has now shifted to at least 2022, according to Wojnarowski.
Which NBA teams own extra picks in 2021 and 2022?
Teams have parted with plenty of 2021 second-round picks over the past year, but only one first-round pick for that season has changed hands outright, revealing how closely they have been guarded. In a draft-day trade this past June, the Philadelphia 76ers dealt the rights to 10th overall pick Mikal Bridges to the Phoenix Suns for the rights to 16th pick Zhaire Smith and the Miami Heat’s 2021 first-round pick. A handful of other 2021 picks are tied up in protections that will likely convey prior to that draft.
It’s unclear how much stock the Sixers put into that Heat pick given the possibility that it could fall in the lone season when prospects from two consecutive high school draft classes would be eligible, but there is little doubt that the selection lost a fraction of its value with the latest memo from the NBA.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Hawks could be celebrating the latest news on this matter. The Oklahoma City Thunder affixed a top-14 protected 2022 first-rounder to Carmelo Anthony’s contract in their trade for Dennis Schroder in July, leaving the Hawks with another pick in what could be the double draft.
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