Sources: NBA eyeing Sept. 25 as date for annual draft
The NBA is targeting Sept. 25 as the date for the 2020 draft, sources told SI.com.
Commissioner Adam Silver held separate conference calls with team owners and general managers this week to discuss plans for a resumption of the season. According Shams Charania of Stadium, the league is targeting July 31 as a return to play.
The draft is currently scheduled for June 25, though that date is expected to be officially postponed soon. The June 3 date for early entry candidates to withdraw has also been pushed back, though the new date has not yet been announced.
If the draft is indeed moved to Sept. 25, sources assume that would mean Sept. 20 would be the date for a Game 7 of the Finals. This is based off the fact the last possible date for a Finals game generally falls five days before the draft.
That said, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the league is also considering the idea of starting the free agency period before the draft (it has always started a week later) -- but the league is making a number of contingencies amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The NBA officially postponed both the draft lottery and pre-draft combine, originally scheduled for May. At least the lottery is still expected to take place, with some form of the combine perhaps being staged shortly after in the fall.
It has not yet been determined if non-playoff contenders such as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors would be included in a resumption of the season. The Warriors owned the worst record in the entire league when play was suspended March 11; the Cavs the worst in the Eastern Conference.
Most around the league are in favor of an expanded playoff format that would include at least the teams with the 20 best records and a "play-in" tournament, per Charania. Traditionally, the postseason consists of 16 teams.
The majority of GMs revealed in a vote that they want the season to end no later than Oct. 1, Charania reported.
Walt Disney World in Orlando is said to be the heavy favorite to serve as a centralized location should the NBA season resume.
Meanwhile, any form of the draft is expected to be held virtually, much like the NFL did with its own draft in April. For the first time in history, the NBA draft is scheduled to be simulcast on ABC.