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NBA Teams Reportedly Want The Draft Pushed To ‘No Sooner Than August 1’

Whether the NBA season comes back or not, it’s clear the typical offseason schedule will fall away. To that end, NBA teams are petitioning the league office to push the regularly scheduled NBA Draft back from June 25 to Aug. 1 at the very earliest, according to a new report from Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

“Multiple top team executives expressed to ESPN their belief that shifting the draft date would give organizations more time to salvage the essential elements of the pre-draft process, possibly allowing for in-person workouts, interviews and medical evaluations of prospects that current social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines make impossible,” the ESPN reporters wrote on Friday.

This comes after reports earlier in the week showing that the league put rules in place that would limit teams’ ability to carry out the usual pre-draft process, including nixing in-person interviews and preventing teams from organizing virtual workouts with prospects. It is no wonder, then, that this plan would allow most of that to happen as close to normal as possible.

Most importantly, as the NFL’s virtual free agency and draft processes have shown the sports world, medical evaluations must be able to take place, something that currently cannot happen as the United States uses mitigation efforts (i.e. “social distancing”) to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The ESPN report emphasizes that the “Aug. 1 date would be flexible, based on when the league restarts,” as well as the fact that the main priority underpinning the petition is that “team officials believe the draft and free agency should stay connected on the calendar once the season ends.”

There is no feasible way to pull off a draft or free agency before a decision is made on the nature of the 2019-20 season, or of course during gameplay. This plan would create flexibility for the NBA to respond more adequately to the constant changes in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.