Free Agency Could Be Moved Prior To Draft

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.

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10 thoughts on “Free Agency Could Be Moved Prior To Draft

  1. _sturt_

    Not a fan. At all.

    The reason it somewhat works for the NFL is that you have 7 rounds, and routinely, 4-8 players from the draft or UDFA signings will make the opening game roster.

    By putting the draft ahead of free agency, it generally allows teams to address a high priority need with their first round pick, but there’s no guarantees that the second round pick will even make the roster.

    Better to have free agency as the fall-back position to address needs because those are almost all going to be players who have a legitimate chance to make the roster; in most cases, it’s guaranteed they’ll at least get paid.

    When the draft is your fall back position, though, it significantly increases the risk that that priority won’t be adequately addressed at all.

    Having said that, it could make the lottery picks that much more valuable.

    • L Lawliet

      Fair assessment but I disagree on the counter impact. It is only 2 rounds and most times 2nd rounders have a hard timemaking the roster regardless. If anything undrafted players will have a harder time. Also very few teams have cap space to make an impact in free agency.

  2. hiflew

    I love this idea. If players are going to be entering the draft as 18-19 year olds, teams should not be counting on them to fill a major hole on the roster. Sure, you have some that can step in immediately, but they are few and far between.

    And it also helps veterans more than anything. If you are a fringe veteran FA, you want there to be as many job openings as possible to ensure your career to continue. If you get signed before a 2nd rounder similar to you, you could cause the team to draft in a different direction. At the very least, you would get the chance to prove yourself. However, if that 2nd rounder has already been picked, there is a chance you may never get signed at all.

    Make no mistake, the player’s association is ALWAYS going to fight to protect the veteran over a draft pick.

    • stevep-4

      Good take on this. It makes sense for the players association, but also creates a better situation for veterans, and a less high-pressure situation for rookie draftees. Your last sentence sums it up well, though.

  3. x%sure

    Seems like the union would agree to moving up free agency, to get teams to offer more to FAs, filling gaps before they do it in a draft.

    Another reason for owners to get going with scheduling the draft lol

    Having the draft between the RS and playoffs would have minor impact to proceedings… anothet layer of intrigue, or another option for broadcasters looking for segments. Teams want to audition iffy players before they draft potential replacements but that should be over by the playoffs.

  4. Sillivan

    According to what I read a few weeks ago

    I myself think it is fair

    NBA draft will be 5 days after NBA Finals
    Lets say free agency starts 4 days after nba finals

  5. Sillivan

    Free agents don’t have enough time to execute their agents for a new contract

  6. Sillivan

    I like play-in Tourament by conference because there is no home court advantage

    lower seed needs to beat one additional team to play higher seeds.

    Lakers beat one team to advance to the next round. Rockets have to beat two teams to advance to the next round.

  7. phillyballers

    I like FA before the draft. Think you’ll see even more draft day trades happen instead of teams holding out hope for player x in Free Agency.

  8. I like this in general, but it could result in some awkward situations. For example, a team could sign a veteran power forward, with the agreement he would be a significant role player. Then, in the draft, a power forward the team really likes unexpectedly slides in the draft. The team would then face the choice of passing on a player they like in the draft or dealing with a sour veteran.

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