The NBA issued a memo to its 30 teams informing them of the guidelines and health and safety protocols for the 2021 pre-draft process, according to multiple reports.
A year ago, teams were extremely limited in their ability to meet with and/or work out prospects in person due to the coronavirus pandemic, but those restrictions have been loosened for 2021. Here are a few highlights from the NBA’s memo:
- An NBA team will be permitted to work out a player at its facility, as long as three days have elapsed since the player’s last team workout (Twitter link via Jonathan Givony of ESPN).
- A player who visits a team’s facility for a workout must record a negative PCR test for COVID-19. However, a team may waive this step if it confirms that a player has been vaccinated (Twitter links via Givony).
- Similar health and safety protocols will be in place for the June combine in Chicago — the NBA won’t mandate vaccinations for the players attending that event, but negative PCR tests will be required (Twitter link via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN).
- Teams aren’t permitted to attend Pro Days or workouts organized by the player’s representation unless they’re part of the June combine in Chicago (Twitter links via Shams Charania of The Athletic and Wojnarowski).
- A prospect can’t visit with the same team more than twice (Twitter link via Charania).
In a typical year, teams are able to get a head-start meeting with college seniors before the NBA officially unveils its list of early entrants. However, because the NCAA gave seniors an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic, seniors aren’t automatically draft-eligible in 2021 and must declare for the draft if they don’t intend to use that extra year at the college level.
In order to ensure that seniors still get a bit of a head-start this year, the NBA will release a “preliminary early entry list” for college seniors on May 18 and another one on May 25, according to Givony (Twitter links).
The players on those preliminary lists will be permitted to meet with teams in person or via Zoom, but won’t be able to work out for teams until the final early entry list is released around June 1 (following the May 30 early entry deadline). Teams won’t be allowed to contact early entrants who aren’t seniors until that final list is released, Givony notes.
This year’s combine will take place from June 21-27, with the draft to follow on July 29.