Since the 2005-2006 NBA season, young players hoping to enter the NBA straight out of high school was prohibited. But now, the players’ union hopes to overturn that decision.
According to ESPN.com, National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) executive director Billy Hunter sent an audio podcast detailing the union’s proposal to every player last week, which they hope will end of the age restriction.
“We want to go back to the way it was,” a source from the NBPA told ESPN. “The players have always been philosophically opposed to it. The vast majority of players feel a player should have the right to make a living. If he has the talent and wants to make money to help his family, he should have that right. It’s just a matter of principle.”
As it stands, the NBA requires a player to be at least 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft, as well as at least one year removed from his high school graduation class, before entering the NBA.
In its proposal, the NBPA rejected team owners’ proposal to implement a hard salary cap and salary reductions, but said they are willing to negotiate a reduction in league revenue guarantees for players.
The union also proposes rule changes that would provide more flexibility for sign-and-trade deals.
The NBA has yet to comment on their proposed change to the age restriction as of press time.
Apparently, the NBPA submitted its contract proposal in July, but have yet to receive a counterproposal to mash out a compromise.
ESPN reports that there’s talk of a lockout next summer, and the age restriction could become a bargaining option in the stalemated negotiations between owners and players.
“We looked to address some of the owners’ concerns and the proposal had elements that would benefit both sides. But the owners have sat on this for five months,” the union source told the sports network.
The NBPA has been anticipating a lockout for more than a year, and has reportedly been advising its players, regularly, to save money in preparation for a work stoppage. And it seems as though players are behind it.
Players, in the past, to come into the NBA fresh outta high school include: Kevin Garnett, Lebron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, Al Jefferson, Andrew Bynum, Monta Ellis, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, and Jermaine O’Neal, among others.