A number of NBA teams are united in their hopes of convincing the league to delay its June 25 draft until at least August 1, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony of ESPN.
As Wojnarowski and Givony explain, top team executives around the NBA want to postpone the draft since it would increase the possibility of salvaging certain aspects of the pre-draft process, including in-person workouts, interviews, and medical evaluations. The coronavirus pandemic makes those in-person meetings impossible for the time being.
The NBA recently sent out guidelines to its teams for the pre-draft process, prohibiting clubs from watching live video workouts or from conducting more than four total hours of virtual meetings – including up to two in a single week – with a single prospect.
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports notes (via Twitter) that teams also aren’t permitted to request or watch any videos of player workouts that took place after April 6. Essentially, teams are limited to studying film of games and practices that occurred before the NBA and NCAA shut down play last month.
While delaying the draft is certainly an idea the NBA has discussed, commissioner Adam Silver has said the league won’t make any major decisions on its calendar until at least May 1, and the NBA is sticking to that timeline for now, as Woj and Givony report.
Wojnarowski and Givony also point out that a tentative draft-date change from June 25 to August 1 could give the NBA additional flexibility as it gets more clarity in the coming months. If the remainder of the 2019/20 season is canceled, the draft could continue as planned on August 1. If the league is able to resume play, the event could be pushed back further, perhaps even to September.
Essentially, teams don’t want a situation where the draft takes place before the 2019/20 season is officially over, since it would prevent clubs from making any trades that involve players. Team officials around the league believe the draft and free agency should “stay connected,” taking place after the season formally ends, per ESPN’s report.
As for the impact that a postponed draft might have on the NCAA, Jeremy Woo of SI.com writes that college programs are already facing a series of new challenges during this year’s recruiting period due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pushing back the draft would only exacerbate the roster-building process for college coaches.
Givony acknowledges in a pair of tweets that a draft delay would complicate things for college coaches — especially those whose underclassmen are testing the draft waters. However, Givony adds that he has spoken to several prospects who like the idea of a postponement, particularly if it increases the chances of restoring part of the pre-draft process and ensuring there’s some form of Summer League.