Adam Silver ‘hopeful’ NBA will change age the limit back to 18

Adam Silver wants the NBA to lower its age limit.

The league commissioner, speaking Tuesday night from the Summer League in Las Vegas, said he’s “hopeful” that the current age limit will be changed during the next collective bargaining agreement.

That, he said, is “the right thing to do.”

“I think there’s an opportunity [to change it],” Silver said. “It's [based on] a larger conversations than just whether we go from 19 to 18, but I'm on record. When I balance all of these various considerations, 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, which will happen in the next couple years."

The NBA first changed its age limit from 18 to 19 back in 2005 — something that stopped players from being able to jump to the league straight out of high school. Amir Johnson, who was drafted by the Detroit Pistons with the No. 56 overall pick that year, was the last player to be selected out of high school. Plenty of other Hall of Famers, or future Hall of Famers, have followed that path, too, including Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard, to name a few.

Now, though, players have to spend at least a year out of high school before entering the NBA draft. That’s undoubtedly changed the college game, and more recently resulted in players opting to play professionally overseas or in the G League instead.

Silver, who was appointed commissioner of the league in 2014, said he actually wanted to increase the age limit to 20 in recent years. Now, however, he feels differently.

"It may be the case that it's in all of our interests that we start impacting with these young players,” Silver said via ESPN, “especially because in our sport they are identified at such a young age and begin working with them on their development then, not just basketball skills but increasingly there's a focus on their mental health, their diets, just helping them build character and all of the important values around the sport."

There is no timeline for such a change. The NBA and the players association have started talks ahead of a potential move to opt out of the current CBA. If the two sides opt out later this year, the current CBA would expire next summer.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver
NBA commissioner Adam Silver wants the league to change the current age limit back to 18. (AP/John Minchillo)