Feb 8, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
During the lockout, the issue of the NBA’s age limit was put to the side. The owners wanted to up the age to 20, the players wanted to do away with it again, and in the interest of getting a deal done it was tabled to later.
It is still laying on the table.
New NBA commissioner Adam Silver was the NBA’s “bad cop” negotiator in the last lockout (to David Stern’s “good cop”) and now Silver would like to take the age limit off the table, reports Scott Howard Cooper of NBA.com.
Increasing the age limit to 20 is a priority for Adam Silver. It will be a topic of discussion once the union hires an executive director.—
Scott Howard-Cooper (@SHowardCooper) February 06, 2014
Whoever that executive director is, he is not likely to go for this… unless Silver has some other concessions he plans to give the players.
This is a sign that Silver understands where his bread is buttered — he works for the owners, and the owners want that higher limit.
Why? As discussed here before it is about their impression of risk — owners see money wasted on young players who do not pan out as predicted and think if scouts have more time to see a players in college it will limit some draft mistakes. They will have more time to evaluate players. As an added benefit it would allow players more time to build up marketing star power before they get to the NBA.
As I have said before, I don’t think upping the age does what the owners hope it will — draft busts are not some new phenomenon. NBA teams were making bust draft picks when they got to see players for years Michael Olowokandi spent three years in college, how did that work out? It’s not just him, but a long list of busts who spent time in college.
But this is something the owners want. Understandably. Why not get players to develop for another year on someone else’s dime, not theirs? It’s just not something the players will easily go for, especially with a feistier Chris Paul as the president of the players’ union.