NBA sets 16 October as date for this year's draft; 18 October for free-agent talks

The NBA has firmed up the schedule for what will be a hectic time for teams this fall, deciding on 16 October as the date for this year's draft and saying clubs can begin talking to free agents two days later.

The Associated Press June 21, 2020 08:20:04 IST
NBA sets 16 October as date for this year's draft; 18 October for free-agent talks

The NBA has firmed up the schedule for what will be a hectic time for teams this fall, deciding on 16 October as the date for this year's draft and saying clubs can begin talking to free agents two days later.

The annual moratorium will begin at 12:01 a.m. EDT on 19 October and continue through noon on 23 October, the league told teams on Saturday in a memo obtained by The Associated Press.

NBA sets 16 October as date for this years draft 18 October for freeagent talks

Representational image. AFP

As was the case last season, teams and free agents can begin negotiating six hours before the moratorium — so 6 p.m. EDT on 18 October.

It could be a wildly busy few days in October for the NBA. If the schedule for the restarted season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida, goes as planned, Game 7 of the NBA Finals could be held on 13 October followed by the draft three days later and then free agency almost immediately following.

By setting the draft date, the NBA also firmed up 17 August as the early entry deadline and 6 October as the early entry withdrawal dates. It's unclear if that will change the schedule the NCAA laid out earlier this month, when it said college players would have “until 10 days after the NBA draft combine or 3 August, whichever comes first" to withdraw from the postponed draft and retain their eligibility.

The league also clarified the procedure for teams should any need arise to replace a player who either was excused from participating in the restart, would be protected from playing for health reasons or chose to not play.

Starting 1 July and going through the end of the seeding games, expected to be 14 August, substitute players can be signed to take the place of someone who falls into those categories. If a player tests positive for coronavirus after the seeding games end, teams would still be allowed to replace them — but only with someone who has three years or less of NBA service.

And if a player — excluding two-way players — refuses to participate in games at Disney, he would lose about 1.1% of his salary for every game missed. That would be capped after 14 games, or roughly 15.1% of the player’s contract. Players who are excused or protected from participating would not be subject to lost salary.

Teams will also be able to sign players to rest-of-season contracts, when eligible, starting Tuesday and continuing through 30 June.

Tuesday is also the day that the NBA enters Phase 2 of its health and safety protocols related to the resumption of the season. Among them: mandatory high-sensitivity coronavirus and antibody testing, with the virus test to be repeated every other day and the antibody test repeated only in the event of a positive virus test.

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