The NBA Draft Eligibility Agreement:

A look into the NBA potentially lowering the draft eligibility age to 18, and what that means for Bronny James.

David Stern praises Adam Silver, NBA for role in Sterling saga - Sports  Illustrated
Photo: Sports Illustrated

Since the 2005 Draft eligibility rule change, draftees have been required to be 19 before joining the league. Even some of the most skilled young hoopers have to endure at least one year of college or other alternative leagues before joining the NBA. Just adding another season of uncertainty and potential injury. Players like Zion Williamson and Luka Doncic, for example. Now with the nationwide anticipation of Bronny James joining the league on everyone’s mind, the expected agreements per Shams Charania will give NBA fans a chance to witness some of the most electrifying basketball players debut on an NBA court directly after high school, for the first time in 17 years.

“The NBA and NBPA are “expected to agree on” lowering draft-age eligibility from 19 to 18 in the new CBA, per @shamscharania… The change would allow high schoolers to go straight to the NBA again”

Bleacher Report on Twitter

Joining the NBA after high school has been around for decades, from Moses Malone to Dwight Howard. It was a rare occasion designated for only some of the most promising young talents and Kwame Brown. However, in 2005 the NBA constructed a new rule forcing one or more years to pass before being eligible for the NBA draft.

The infamous One-and-Done Rule, affecting players like Zion Williamson and his almost forgettable season at Duke. Implemented by former commissioner David Stern. It was Stern’s way of giving high school players a chance to develop more before joining the NBA, seeing that players like Tracy McGrady and Jermaine O’Neal didn’t become stars until their third or fourth season. It was a good idea in theory however, with Adam Silver in charge now and the looming influence of LeBron James the league is expected to make some changes.

Lebron James and sons Bronny and Bryce at basektball practice
(Photo: Lebron James/ Instagram)

So what does this mean for the James family?

Bronny James Jr. is turning 18 on October 6th and he has yet to commit to a university. It would be easy for me to make up some conspiracy theory on why he never committed to a school in perfect time for this rule to change, I won’t. Though, this does put a big asterisk on my Mock Draft. Bronny James is eligible to be drafted in 2023 making the father/son joining forces even more plausible. Heck, even a big three if Iron-Man-Bron can play 3 more years until Bryce Maximus is eligible. The latter is a lot less likely, however.

Regardless, even though Lebron signed the extension until the 2024 season, it’s hard not to get excited for a potential race for Bronny a year early. Following Bron promising to join whichever team selects his son, regardless of the money when he was interviewed by The Athletic.

“Wherever Bronny is at, that’s where I’ll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It’s not about the money at that point.”

-LeBron James, via The Athletic

Even though we are still in the early stages of a rule change like this, the idea of getting the age-eligibility thorn out of the NBA’s side would be a huge relief for everyone. Who really wants to watch NBA-caliber players load manage a half-season at Kentucky? With many more exciting rule changes in consideration, the future of the NBA looks as bright as ever.

To read more on the Lakers future check out this article!

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