Adam Silver says NBA could subsidize college players

Silver said he would be open to dialogue with NBA players and NCAA officials about the possibility of subsidizing college athletes.

Derick Hingle/Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is an advocate for raising the league’s age limit, and he thinks his latest idea may help players want to stay in school a little longer.

Silver, who replaced David Stern in February, said subsidizing college players may be a concept that’s worth exploring.

"Rather than focusing on a salary and thinking of them as employees, I would go to their basic necessities," Silver told ESPN.com Wednesday. "I think if (University of Connecticut guard) Shabazz Napier is saying he is going hungry, my God, it seems hard to believe, but there should be ample food for the players."

Players currently must be no younger than 19 years old to be eligible for the NBA. Silver has said he would prefer to raise the age minimum to 20. And from the sounds of things lately, the NBA Players Association would be supportive of such a move.

Silver said he would be open to dialogue with NBA players and NCAA officials about the possibility of subsidizing college athletes.

"It does, in my mind, need to be a three-way conversation," Silver said. "You heard college administrators at press conferences around the (NCAA) tournament say that it’s the NBA’s problem or the union is putting up resistance. It’s a more complex problem than that."

League sources indicated the NBA is hoping to raise the age minimum in time for the 2015 draft.