NBA teams encouraging league office into delaying this summer’s draft

According to an ESPN report, NBA teams are united in their attempts to delay this summer’s draft – slated for June 25, to no sooner than August 1 as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

With information gathering on draft-eligible prospects limited during the current pandemic, many NBA teams are said to be united in their attempts to encourage the league office to push the draft date further back.

That’s according to a recent news report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony.

Multiple top team executives told ESPN their belief that shifting the date back would allow organisations more time to salvage essential features of the pre-draft process.

This would potentially allow for in-person workouts, interviews and medical evaluations of prospects that existing social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines make impossible.

For now, the NBA remains on commissioner Adam Silver’s timeline of May 1 as the earliest that decisions on the remaining league calendar will start being made.

An August 1 date is said to be flexible to changing too, depending on whether the 19-20 league season restarts. From there, the final weeks of the regular season and playoffs would occur through the summer.

An additional report today said many GMs and trainers want at least a month before games begin, so players can adjust to the layoff while avoiding injuries.

In that case, most envision a September draft and free-agency period based on a season concluding around Labor Day weekend – the first week in September.

With players declaring, what’s next?

Among front-office executives, there’s an expectation that no draft would occur while teams are still engaged in the season, because that would preclude an important element of draft night: player trades. That’s why team officials believe the draft and free agency should stay connected on the calendar once the season ends.

In a memo obtained by ESPN on Monday, the NBA informed teams that they are prohibited from conducting in-person workouts or interviews with draft-eligible players until further notice.

NBA teams will be allowed to conduct virtual interviews with draft prospects but are limited to four hours total per single player.

Teams are also not allowed to request video of recent workouts that players may conduct outside of a team environment, the memo said. Teams can only study film – such as college games and practice sessions – that occurred before the NBA’s suspension of play last month.

How exactly the latter can be monitored, remains to be seen. What’s clear though, is the level of disruption this unprecedented situation continues to have – not just on present day, but future permutations too.

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