The NBA free agent period this year could be moved before the annual draft, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
That would be a momentous shift in the way the NBA operates. The league has traditionally conducted a June draft with free agency beginning approximately a week later.
The matter will be discussed during Friday’s NBA Board of Governors meeting, according to Pompey. Both the draft and free agency are expected to be moved to a later date. The draft, scheduled for June 25, will likely be moved to early September, according to Pompey. Free agency was scheduled to begin on June 30 at 6:00 p.m.
The NFL notably conducts free agency before its annual April draft, allowing teams to determine what remaining needs they have entering the draft. It also facilitates trades during the draft, which can be immediately announced.
The NBA’s method provides rookies with plenty of time to prepare for their first NBA seasons and allows the league to conduct thriving Summer League events. But draft-night trades that don’t involve strictly pick swaps are often not officially announced until after free agency begins and the salary cap is determined.
The decision on when to hold free agency may not be made in the near future, Pompey cautions, since plans to resume this season take precedence. Via an unnamed source, Pompey reports that this year’s draft would occur five-to-seven days after the Finals if it precedes free agency.
The National Basketball Players Association would have to agree to moving free agency before the draft.
The draft lottery and combine have already been postponed.