2:57pm: The NBA has officially confirmed the combine, lottery, and draft dates listed below, and has also announced a pair of additional deadlines:
- Early entrant application deadline: Sunday, May 30 (11:59pm ET)
- Early entrant withdrawal deadline: Monday, July 19 (5:00pm ET)
Again, the NCAA will set its own withdrawal deadline, so the July 19 date will be more relevant for international early entrant prospects.
The NBA also announced in its press release that the plan for the combine is to conduct five-on-five games and strength and agility testing, though that’s subject to “evolving public health conditions.”
2:00pm: The NBA has set dates for the 2021 draft lottery, the combine, and the draft itself, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Sources tell Charania that those dates are as follows:
- Draft combine: Monday, June 21 – Sunday, June 27
- Draft lottery: Tuesday, June 22
- Draft: Thursday, July 29
None of those dates comes as a real surprise — with the end of the 2020/21 regular season pushed back by a little over a month, all of the corresponding dates will be postponed by approximately a month as well, with the 2021/22 league year set to begin in early August.
However, we still don’t know exactly what form these events will take. In 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the combine, lottery, and draft were all held virtually. Given the rate of vaccinations in the U.S., the pandemic outlook shouldn’t be nearly as bad this summer, but it remains to be seen whether the NBA will be prepared to hold large-scale in-person events, with participants (and possibly fans) coming in from all over the country.
In any case, Charania’s report means we can start filling in our offseason calendar. Since the NBA typically sets its early entrant withdrawal deadline for 10 days before the draft, that date figures to fall on July 19. The league will still need to establish a deadline for those early entry players to declare for the draft (that deadline is usually 60 days before the draft), and the NCAA also has to set its own withdrawal deadline for college players.