On Dec. 15, the NBA and NBPA hold a “mutual opt-out date” for their current collective bargaining agreement. If that opt-out is exercised, one critical part of the new CBA will be maintaining or amending the league’s Draft eligibility age, which is currently 19.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania,”the league and NBPA are expected to agree on moving the age eligibility for the NBA Draft from 19 years old to 18, clearing the way for the return of high school players who want to make the leap to the NBA.” Back in 2005, the draft age limit was moved from 18 to 19. Charania noted this change could become reality as soon as the 2024 Draft.
Among other potential alterations in a new CBA is “discussing measures to allow players to cite mental health issues as an ailment similar to physical injury,” according to Charania. Last season, Brooklyn Nets All-Star Ben Simmons missed the entire year, in part because he was not mentally ready to play. Simmons filed a grievance against the Philadelphia 76ers in April to accrue much of the salary initially withheld from him and settled for an undisclosed amount in August.
Both of these changes seem rather significant. Lowering the Draft eligibility age might notably increase the player pool for any given year, while adding greater priority on mental health is a vital step forward in further removing the stigma of mental health afflictions.