In the dispute over what should be done about age limits for players coming out of college basketball and entering the draft, expect the NBA's D-League to become a major battlefield.

According to multiple sources, a proposed plan that is circulating now would see the age limit extended from its current position — one year after high school graduation — to three years, essentially barring most players from entering the NBA until they are 20 or 21.

The tradeoff would come in the D-League, the NBA's burgeoning set of minor-league affiliates that will number at least 18 teams next season.

The sources said that, in order to pave the way for raising the age limit, the league would be willing to expand salaries in the D-League, giving each team a salary cap and allowing executives with each team to sign players as they wish. Not only would that allow D-League teams to sign good young players, it would allow NBA clubs to size up young executives and player evaluators.

Of course, the NBA can't really come up with solid proposals just yet. The main issue slowing down changing the eligibility requirements remains the inability of the NBA players association to find an executive director who can negotiate with commissioner Adam Silver on the subject. But once a new director is in place, the age limit dilemma is expected to be a priority.

If the plan takes shape with the D-League in mind, it would get rid of the one-and-done rule in college basketball, in which players go to school for one season and bolt for the NBA draft. The rule was changed in the 2005 NBA collective-bargaining agreement, and in the past seven drafts, 49 first-round picks have been one-and-done collegiate players — 23.3 percent.