- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS -- NBA commissioner David Stern and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, a pair of basketball power brokers who have differed on plenty of topics over the years, agree that they'd like to get rid of the one-and-done trend with draft prospects.
The rules currently require an American player to be at least 19 years old and a year out of high school before he can declare for the NBA draft, which is why the lottery is littered with phenoms coming off their college freshman seasons each year.
Stern said Tuesday that he'd like to add a year to the rule. Cuban wants to take it a step further, requiring players to wait three years after their high school class graduates to become draft-eligible.
"I just think there's every good reason to do it, which is obviously why we didn't do it," Cuban said sarcastically, adding that Kentucky fans were the only people who like the one-and-done concept.
It's a moot point unless the players' union agrees to change the draft-eligibility rules, something the NBA didn't make a priority while negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement during the lockout. At this point, the union has agreed only to form a committee to discuss changes.
Cuban's opinion is based on what would be best for the NBA as a business, but college basketball also would benefit greatly from such a rule. Cuban believes that requiring a three-year wait to declare for the NBA draft would prevent players from making poor decisions that affect the rest of their lives, as well as help rid the sport of corruption among player agents.
"I just think there's a lot more kids that get ruined coming out early or going to school trying to be developed to come out early than actually make it," Cuban said. "For every
Kobe (Bryant) or (Kevin) Garnett or Carmelo (Anthony) or LeBron (James), there's 100 Lenny Cookes."
Lenny Cooke was a New York high school star who wasn't selected after declaring for the 2002 draft. He never played a minute in the NBA.
"Then you say, what about the kids that aren't college material or whatever?" Cuban said. "I think then we just put them in the D-League for three years and then they become draft-eligible with their class.
"They could go to Europe if they want, like Brandon Jennings. That'd be fine. There is nothing that I would like better than to throw our problems on FIBA. Then we'd get some of our money's worth with them."
Many of the NBA's biggest stars are players who came to the league straight out of high school, before the age limit was instituted in 2005, or spent only one season in college. However, there have been plenty of lottery-pick busts who entered the league under those circumstances, too.
"It's not even so much about lottery busts," Cuban said. "It's about kids' lives that we're ruining. Even if you're a first-round pick and you have three years of guaranteed money -- or two years now of guaranteed money -- then what? Because if you're a bust and it turns out you just can't play in the NBA, your 'Rocks for Jocks' one year of schooling isn't going to get you real far.
"I just don't think it takes into consideration the kids enough. Obviously, I think there's significant benefit for the NBA. It's not my decision to make, but that's my opinion on it."
Cuban also would like to expand the NBA draft from two to four rounds. He envisions the D-League being used more like the way Major League Baseball uses its minor leagues -- as a true feeder system -- although there would be several non-draft-eligible D-League players whose rights weren't owned by NBA teams under his proposal.
"I just don't think we do it the right way by a long shot," Cuban said. "We shoot ourselves in the forehead."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
1hEthan Sherwood Strauss
1dMatt Walks, ESPN.com