As the NBA continues to try to salvage its season and figure out the upcoming event schedule amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, a new potential time frame for the 2020 NBA Draft has emerged. The draft, initially scheduled for June 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, could be pushed back to August or September, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“Any scenario where the draft happens, it’s very likely going to be still be at the back end of the playoffs, and you would still have a time when you would have the draft and free agency,” Wojnarowski said Sunday on SportsCenter. “So potentially if the season is resumed at some point and the league is playing in July and August and maybe even into September, it’s possible you don’t have a draft and free agency until those Finals are over.”
The draft date could remain unchanged and still occur on June 25, although the only way that will happen is if the current campaign is scrapped completely, according to Wojnarowski. At this point, though, the league is hopeful that it will be able to finish out the season. Logistically, the draft has to occur after the postseason has completed so that teams can participate in potential draft-day deals.
“It feels like in talking to people around the league, the only scenario you would have a draft on June 25 is if you’ve already decided to not play any more of the NBA season,” Wojnarowski said. “They hope and believe that that won’t be the case because it’s going to be nearly impossible to have a draft while the playoffs have started. As long as there’s any teams still playing, you’re not going to be able to do trades. And it’s hard to have a draft night without teams feeling they could trade more than draft picks. Most deals, there’s players involved.”
The NBA season has been indefinitely suspended since March 11 when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, followed by a plethora of other players and NBA figures from across the league’s landscape, including New York Knicks owner James Dolan. Despite the current high level of uncertainty surrounding the season, however, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is optimistic that it can still be salvaged, to an extent.
“I’m optimistic by nature, and I want to believe we’re gonna be able to salvage at least some portion of the season,” Silver said earlier in March. “Again, I’d say we’ve done new and creative things in the past, we experimented with this year’s All-Star Game with a unique ending, we’ve talked about play-in tournaments for going into the playoffs, there may be other things we can do with the format. I know I’ve heard from a lot of our players. They’re going stir crazy, they want to play, they want to compete. We’re gonna try by every means we can to play basketball again, but the safety and health of our players and fans is first.”
In April, the WNBA is holding a virtual draft without players, guests and media members in attendance. This is another option for the NBA to consider moving forward. While a return to basketball-related activities this season would be great, it’s obviously secondary to the health and safety of the teams, players and fans. The NBA will certainly explore all possible avenues, but the situation is fluid, and something that the league can’t control. Like everyone else, they just have to hope that the coronavirus can be curbed in a timely manner. We will learn more about the league’s plan for the rest of the season, the draft and free agency in the coming weeks.
Courtesy: CBS Sports