NBA free agency period could take place before draft

Sam Amico

Everything has changed for the NBA and all the newness will likely extend to free agency and the draft.

In fact, this year, free agency may actually take place prior to the draft -- which is the opposite of how it always goes.

According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, those topics will be the items discussed during a Friday conference call between commissioner Adam Silver and the board of governors.

"Several league sources said the 2020 draft is expected to be pushed back from June 25 to September," Pompey wrote. "Two of the sources also said the board of governors would also discuss whether the upcoming free-agency period should be moved ahead of the draft. Free agency for the 2020-21 season will be moved from the scheduled start of 6 p.m. June 30."

It's hard to tell when a firm decision on the draft will take place. All we really know is it's currently scheduled for June 25. All we assume is there's no way it will actually be held on that date.

But as several league sources told SI.com (and Pompey reported), a decision isn't likely to come for at least another week or two.

After all, the league's highest priority is figuring out the best way to go about resuming the season. From the sounds of things, it may start with the playoffs -- and only the playoffs -- in late July.

But before that can happen, the league and its teams have to figure out to get the players and coaches back in their home markets, and how to resume practice as safely as possible.

"The decisions and/or announcements on free agency and the draft will come after the end-date for the NBA Finals is determined," Pompey reported. "The draft will be five to seven days after the Finals, a source said."

There is also the matter of the annual pre-draft combine and draft lottery. Both have already been postponed from their originally scheduled dates in May. The league could have an abbreviated form of the combine, perhaps also in September while the playoffs are still going on. The same goes for the lottery.

Most around the league believe that the draft will be held in the fall even if this season were to be shut down entirely. No matter what happens, the 2020-21 season is destined to start in December, likely on Christmas Day.

But first, the NBA has to figure out what to do about this season's calendar.

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