Brooklyn Nets: Ending one-and-done better for NBA, players

UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2000: Kwame Brown, of Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Ga., is congratulated by NBA Commissioner David Stern after being selected as the No. 1 draft pick by the Washington Wizards during the 2001 NBA Draft at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Brown is the first high school player to be chosen first in the draft.. (Photo by Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2000: Kwame Brown, of Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Ga., is congratulated by NBA Commissioner David Stern after being selected as the No. 1 draft pick by the Washington Wizards during the 2001 NBA Draft at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Brown is the first high school player to be chosen first in the draft.. (Photo by Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images) /

According to a report, the Brooklyn Nets and other NBA teams were told Friday that draft eligibility could shift back to age 18 as soon as 2021.’s Zach Lowe reported Friday that NBA teams — including the Brooklyn Nets — received a memo on Friday indicating that draft-eligibility rules could be changing as soon as 2021.

The NBA raised the age for draft eligibility for 2007 to 19 years of age or that a player’s high-school  class had to be one year removed from graduation, a rule that has become known as the “one-and-done” rule.

It got the moniker as prospects headed to college programs for a season before bolting as freshmen for the NBA Draft.

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According to Lowe’s report, the memo was sent to help teams plan for future picks. The memo read in part:

"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 memo stated the rules would remain the same until at least 2021 and may not shift until 2024, if at all.

The league has been reviewing  issues “related to player development and the corruption investigation in college basketball,” according to the report.

While no 2022 first-round picks have changed hands to this point, according to, there are some 2021 picks that could be affected.

The Boston Celtics are owed a 2019 pick from the Memphis Grizzlies that is top-eight protected next year and top-six protected in 2020 before becoming unprotected in 2021.

The Milwaukee Bucks 2019 first-round pick goes to the Phoenix Suns unless it is either in the top three or between 17-30.

The pick is top-seven protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021.

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The Suns also have an unprotected pick due in 2021 from the Miami Heat.

What does all of this mean for the Brooklyn Nets? The Nets, then in New Jersey, never selected a player straight out of high school from the time Kevin Garnett made the jump in the 1995 NBA Draft until Amir Johnson was the last prep-to-pros pick in the second round in 2006.

There are some significant changes to how the NBA operates, however, since high-schoolers were last eligible to be chosen in the draft.

Biggest among these has been the explosive growth of the developmental circuit now known as the G-League.

The G-League didn’t exist when Garnett entered the draft in 1995. Formed in 2001 with eight teams, all in the southern U.S., the then-D-League had shrunk to six teams, then grown to 12 by the 2006-07 season — the last season in which high-school players had been drafted.

Next season, there will be 27 franchises in the G-League, all affiliated with an NBA team, and only the Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers will be without an affiliate in the G.

At this point, where evidence would indicate that top prep prospects are getting money in return for committing to certain schools for a season, it would be better for the NBA (and the players themselves) to open the door back to these 18-year-olds.

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  • Think about it: Which organization has the player’s long-term future as a bigger priority? The NBA club sinking a four-year contract into a first-round pick? Or a college program looking at next season and moving on from the kid?

    From the teams’ standpoint, without modifications to the rookie-scale contract, it would push the important extension decision back.

    Teams would have to decide whether or not to offer extensions to first-round picks who would have potentially finished their age 20 season (the third year of the four-year rookie deal), as opposed to age 21 for players who played a year in the NCAA (or somewhere else).

    These are important decisions with long-reaching ramifications to team building and salary cap management that would have to be made when a player is even less mature and advanced than they are presently.

    With potential changes to the draft on the horizon, the NBA has made modifications to the G-League pay scale.

    Next season, the maximum salary in the developmental circuit will increase from $26,000 to $35,000 and the advent of the two-way contract last season provided an even more lucrative way for young players to get playing time and still earn a living without having to head overseas.

    Perhaps a hybridized rookie contract could be developed in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association that would provide options for teams drafting 18-year-olds.

    One such idea could be to allow teams the option to put the player on a two-way contract at an expanded scale in the first year, while also allowing the team to have the full four years of the rookie-scale contract to work with afterward.

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    In other words, if a team drafts Garnett, LeBron James or Kobe Bryant types who are NBA-ready from the jump, the player would get the standard four-year rookie deal with all the extension deadlines as they currently exist.

    But if the player isn’t ready to be a regular contributor at age 18, the team could opt for a two-way deal the first year and turn the clock on for the four-year contract in season two.

    The two-way contract would allow the player to get up to 60 days with the big club, a chance to play in some games, while getting more valuable regular minutes in the G-League while learning the same systems and terminologies used at the higher level.

    College basketball stakeholders complained loudly two decades ago about their product being diminished, with star players never donning a collegiate uniform.

    Given the scope of the current investigation into links between college programs, apparel companies and top-tier prospects being paid in return for commitments to certain programs, the NCAA crowd might be happier at this point to get out from under the shadow of prep stars trying to get at least a piece of the financial action derived by their school and the NCAA from their efforts.

    Yes, this will cue the cries of “but they’re getting a free education” from fans who grew up with and are completely comfortable with the allegedly “amateur” model for college athletics, but we’re talking about guys who never intended to stay more than a semester or two on campus before moving on to the pros, so let’s at least be intellectually honest about it.

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    In all, there are more positives than negatives to the idea of allowing players to make the jump straight from high school to the professional ranks and those potential negatives can be mitigated with proper planning put into place to emphasize development over immediate productivity from these kids.