NBA commissioner Adam Silver has already admitted the league’s 2020-21 season is facing another delay, and the same could reportedly be true for the NBA draft.
The NBA has informed teams that the 2020 draft is facing a potential move to Nov. 18 from its previously rescheduled Oct. 15 date, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Per Wojnarowski, the NBA plans to discuss the new date with the Board of Governors and general managers in meetings this week and could finalize the move soon.
Teams reportedly wanted the draft pushed back as much as a month to give the NBA and NBPA more time for salary cap negotiations for the upcoming season, which will be key for trades around the draft.
The 2020-21 NBA season remains scheduled to begin on Dec. 1, more than a month later than usual to compensate for the coronavirus-stretched 2019-20 season. However, another delay is clearly coming. Silver said last month that date feels early, especially for a league hoping to play in front of fans:
“Dec. 1, now that we’re working through this season, is feeling a little bit early to me. Our No. 1 goal is to get fans back in our arenas. My sense is in working with the Players’ Association, if we could push back even a little longer and increase the likelihood of having fans in arenas, that’s what we would do.”
It’s not hard to see why the date is early. The NBA Finals are scheduled to end in early October, which would give some players less than a month and a half of rest before they have to return for training camp. Factor in a November draft, and that would mean rookies would have mere weeks between draft day and their NBA debuts.
NBPA executive director Michele Roberts is skeptical of the Dec. 1 date, per ESPN, and the union has reportedly suggested to players the season could start as late as January or February. Free agency, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 18, is also reportedly facing another delay.
The draft was first delayed to Oct. 15 from its original June 25 date due to the coronavirus pandemic. The draft lottery had also been delayed from May 19 to Aug. 25, when the Minnesota Timberwolves took the first pick of a wide-open draft.