LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The NBA is targeting Nov. 18 as a new date for the 2020 draft, pending discussions with league owners and general managers in separate meetings on Thursday and Friday, according to a memo obtained by ESPN.
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association negotiated what the memo called a “potential revised 2020 NBA Draft date” as a tentative replacement for Oct. 16. The delay would allow the league and union to negotiate amendments to the collective bargaining agreement and agree on 2020-21 salary cap and luxury tax thresholds.
Free agency isn’t mentioned in the memo, nor has a new date been negotiated with the NBPA, sources said. The start of free agency is expected to follow relatively soon after the draft.
Teams had significant concerns that a mid-October draft would leave them without the necessary information on future salary caps to conduct the typical draft night business of making trades, buying and selling picks, and selecting players.
The dramatic loss in current and projected league revenues could cause the salary cap numbers to fluctuate from previous projections, and the league and union will start negotiating those figures in earnest once an audit of the 2019-20 season is completed, sources said.
The NBA also wants to give teams time to conduct more pre-draft preparation, including what sources expect to be virtual regional player combines. Teams are expecting the league to share more information soon on the potential ability to have in-person contact with players, sources said.
This would be the second delay of the draft, which was originally scheduled for June 25.
The NBA and NBPA will need to negotiate a new starting date for the season, pushing it back from Dec. 1 based on the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic. The league’s goal remains to play as many games as possible next season with fans in arenas, if possible.