Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Monday said players who leave college early for the NBA draft but go unpicked should be allowed by the NCAA to return to school.
"Don't keep this ruse going," Kerr told reporters Monday. "We all know what's going on. Let's do what's best for the kid and give them some options, and work together between the NBA and NCAA to find the right system. I think it's entirely doable if you people just open their eyes."
Under the current system, underclassmen who leave college and sign with an agent are not welcome back to their NCAA institutions. Kerr said he doesn't understand why that's the case.
"One of the things the NCAA needs to look at is, if a kid signs with an agent and he doesn't get drafted, welcome him back," Kerr said. "Why not? What's the harm? We talk about amateurism and all this stuff, but if you're truly trying to do what's right for the kid, and the kid declares for the draft and doesn't get drafted, you know what? Welcome him back. Do something good for the kids."
College players who declare for the draft but do not sign with an agent can maintain their eligibility if they withdraw from the draft process by a specified date.
Multiple sources told ESPN that the NBA is preparing to get involved again with elite high school basketball players, with the league already having had meetings with the National Basketball Players Association about adjusting the so-called "one-and-done" age-limit rule.
A plan is expected to include the NBA starting relationships with elite teenagers while they are in high school, providing skills to help them develop both on and off the court. It would ultimately open an alternate path to the NBA besides playing in college and a way 18-year-olds could earn a meaningful salary either from NBA teams or as part of an enhanced option in the developmental G League, sources said.
In recent days, influential voices such as former President Barack Obama and LeBron James, a vice president of the players' union, have called for the NBA to expand its G League to give teenagers another option besides the NCAA route. NCAA president Mark Emmert has said repeatedly he doesn't believe players should come to college merely as a temporary stop before heading to the NBA.
"I think it's great," Kerr said of bolstering the G League. "I think there's lots of things that I think the league and the NCAA can collaborate on. ... The fact that the [G] League is getting stronger and stronger, we should provide that as an option for high school kids who maybe don't want to go to college."
ESPN's Brian Windhorst contributed to this report.