As information gathering on draft-eligible prospects remains limited during the coronavirus pandemic, many NBA teams are united in hopes of encouraging the league office to push the date of the draft from June 25 to no sooner than Aug. 1, sources told 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.
For now, the NBA remains on commissioner Adam Silver’s timeline of May 1 as the earliest that decisions on the remaining league calendar will start to be made, sources said.
An Aug. 1 date would be flexible, based on whether the league restarts and advances the regular season and playoffs through the summer. In that case, most envision a September draft and free-agency period based on a season that concludes around Labor Day weekend.
Among front-office executives, there is an expectation that no draft would occur while teams are still engaged in the season, because that would preclude an important element of draft night: player trades. That’s why team officials believe the draft and free agency should stay connected on the calendar once the season ends.
In a memo obtained by ESPN on Monday, the NBA informed teams that organizations are prohibited from conducting in-person workouts or interviews with draft-eligible players until further notice.
NBA teams will be allowed to conduct virtual interviews with draft prospects but are limited to four hours total for any single player, the memo said.
Teams are also prohibited from requesting video of recent workouts that players might conduct outside of a team environment, the memo said. Teams can only study film — such as college games and practice sessions — that occurred before the NBA’s suspension of play.