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NBA Postpones Lottery and Combine

The league will push back the draft lottery and combine in the wake of COVID-19 as the NBA season remains suspended.

After weeks of speculation and uncertainty, the NBA has officially postponed this summer's draft lottery and draft combine in the wake of COVID-19. 

The Athletic's Shams Charania and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news on Friday afternoon, and Wojnarowski added that the league will likely eventually postpone the draft itself. 

If the NBA season doesn't continue, the Hawks will have the fourth-highest lottery odds behind Golden State, Minnesota, and Cleveland. The lottery was scheduled for May 19, with the combine set to take place May 21-24 in Chicago. No timetable has been set for when events might be rescheduled. 

The decision to postpone was made Friday afternoon on the NBA's Board of Governors conference call, in which the league and its team owners also discussed delaying the start of the 2021 season until December, Wojnarowski reported. That would give teams a chance to play more games in front of fans rather than start the season in empty arenas, though it's unclear whether large gatherings will be allowed or safe by that point. 

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The NBA season has been suspended since March 11, when Rudy Gobert became the first of many players to test positive for the novel coronavirus. Since then, the league has made very little -- if any -- progress toward a return to the court, and each new development casts more and more doubt over whether basketball will return at any level anytime soon. 

On Monday, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said that the organization wouldn't reopen its practice facility despite a report that the league would allow teams in certain states to do so, and the idea of allowing players to return to the floor -- even in an individual and highly sanitized setting -- met significant pushback from NBA players, fans, and officials.