NBA considering pushing 2020 draft back another month

Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) drives to the basket past Duke guard Tre Jones during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) drives to the basket past Duke guard Tre Jones during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The NBA’s board of governors and general managers will discuss a plan later this week to push the NBA draft back to Nov. 18, according to a memo sent to teams Wednesday.

In the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, the league told teams that the Nov. 18 date is based on “initial conversations with the Players Association.” The board of governors and general managers have meetings scheduled for today and Friday.

If the draft is moved this would be the second time that the draft — originally set for June 25, then pushed back to Oct. 16 — gets delayed. An additional delay would also allow the league more time to conduct the pre-draft process, including a combine in some form, teams were told in the memo.

The league also said delaying the draft would allow it more time to continue the process of deciding when best to start next season.

Former KU All-Americans Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike are expected to be taken in this year's draft, with both falling in the range of becoming late first round to early second picks according to most mock drafts.

Both players have been working out with trainers throughout the past several months and both received pre-draft combine invitations in late July. The list of invitees, which normally includes around 70 players, was roughly 100 this year.

If a combine takes place this offseason, its format remains unclear. Typically held in mid-May in Chicago, the most likely path this year appears to be some kind of online or virtual combine, with interviews between draft prospects and NBA team officials being the focal point.

Moving the draft would have a domino effect on other offseason league business, such as free agency and the process by which the league and Players Association will determine salary cap numbers for 2020-21 — something that teams obviously need to know before they can go shopping.

The most recent plan had been for free agency to start with negotiations able to begin at 6 p.m. on Oct. 18 and the end of the annual offseason moratorium at noon on Oct. 23.

And the NBA had been hoping for a Dec. 1 start to the 2020-21 season, though Commissioner Adam Silver said on the ESPN telecast of the draft lottery last month that date was unlikely. Silver said Dec. 1 “is feeling a little bit early to me.”

The league has yet to publicly reveal when next season could start — or if it could start in a bubble or multiple bubbles.

“Our No. 1 goal is to get fans back in our arenas,” Silver said on the draft lottery telecast Aug. 20. “My sense is, in working with the players association, if we could push back even a little longer and increase the likelihood of having fans in arenas, that’s what we would be targeting.”

— Journal-World Sports Editor Matt Tait contributed to this report.