As the NBA and the NBPA continue to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement ahead of Friday night's opt-out deadline, there's one popular topic that may go unchanged in the new CBA. For several years there have been talks to lower the minimum age for entry into the NBA Draft back down to 18, but ESPN reports that if the two sides come to an agreement Friday night, there would be no change to that rule.
This is a surprising development, given in September 2022 there were reports saying that the league and player's union were expected to agree to lower the age requirement. NBA commissioner Adam Silver also said in July 2022 that he was in favor of lowering the minimum age requirement. Silver said of the idea, "I think that would be the right thing to do and I am hopeful that that's a change we make in this next collective bargaining cycle."
When it was reported earlier that the age requirement could be lowered, the thought was it could take effect ahead of the 2024 Draft. It would've created a "double-draft" that would include top high school seniors, as well as some of the best college freshmen around the nation that were required to wait a year. However, it sounds as though that won't be happening any time soon.
As it stands, a player needs to be 19 years old to enter the NBA Draft, and one year removed from graduating high school. That's been the rule since 2007, but there had been traction in the last couple years that the rule could change. Lowering the age minimum would alter college basketball, as we would likely see less "one-and-done" cases which became popular since the NBA bumped up the age minimum to 19. We're already starting to see some high school seniors bypass college in favor of either playing professionally overseas for a year, or joining the NBA's G League Ignite team which was specifically created to give players another avenue other than college to prepare for the draft.
The NBA founded the G League Ignite in 2020, and since then have had six players been drafted from the team, including No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft Jalen Green. The creation of the Ignite team is probably one of the reasons the NBA has decided not to lower the age requirement, because it would essentially kill a program it just created three years ago.
With that in mind, it appears as though high school seniors will still have to wait a year before entering the NBA Draft. Perhaps one day that rule will change again, but it sounds as though it won't be happening on this cycle of the CBA.