With the NBA having to undergo drastic schedule changes amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the 2019-20 season is not due to conclude before October. Should the NBA Finals reach a Game 7, that will be played Oct. 12.
With the season normally ending in the middle of June, the 2020 NBA Draft and dates related to it, such as the early entry withdrawal deadline, usually are in the summer month as well.
Now all of those dates will be shifted into October with the beginning of the 2020-21 NBA season being pushed into December. Another change will be how quickly everything happens.
In a normal season, the NBA Draft is held a little over a week after the end of the NBA Finals, with free agency beginning one week later on July 1. Due to the unprecedented situation, the 2020 NBA Draft is now scheduled to be held Oct. 16, with the withdrawal date 10 days before that, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony of ESPN:
The NBA’s early-entry deadline had been April 26, in anticipation of a June 25 draft, but according to the CBA, players have the ability to make themselves draft eligible by petioning the league in writing “at least sixty (60) days prior.” Pending approval from the National Basketball Players Association, that would shift the early-entry deadline to Aug. 17 given the draft has been postponed to Oct. 16.
The NBA set its deadline to withdraw from the draft as Oct. 6 — 10 days before the Oct. 16 draft. That deadline is largely for international players or collegiate players who have elected to forfeit their remaining NCAA eligibility.
Oct. 16 will be an extremely quick turnaround time for those teams who are still playing in the Finals. Even teams eliminated in the Conference Finals will have much less time than usual to get their scouting done, especially when group workouts with teams are going to be much more difficult to organize.
The NBA has yet to reveal details about how pre-draft workouts will happen, but the safest route probably includes solely individual workouts. This means bringing in just one player at a time to work out with a single trainer while scouts and executives watch from afar, followed by interviews conducted at a safe distance.
The entire NBA Draft will be much different than what anyone is used to seeing, and that will be the case for just about every facet of the season and offseason. The only thing that will be relatively unchanged is the free agency process, except individual meetings may happen virtually instead of in person.
Early entry options for this year’s draft have already been exercised by a number of top college athletes this season, but that deadline has been extended to Aug. 17. However, that is different from the NCAA’s withdrawal date, which is Aug. 3.
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