Just hours before the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery takes place in a virtual format, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported news that could change the league’s off-season calendar. Though the dates for the lottery, draft and free agency already shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a months-long hiatus, Wojnarowski now reports that free agency and, potentially, the draft, “could be pushed back several weeks.”
Currently, the 2020 NBA Draft is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 16, with free agency set to begin on Sunday, Oct. 18. With that said, the financial uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and changes to the salary cap structure could give the league and the NBPA pause in an overall sense, with ESPN noting that a delay would give both sides “a chance to better formulate the parameters of the 2020-21 salary cap and luxury tax thresholds.”
Though most of the focus is on a potential delay to free agency, ESPN also reports that the “lack of salary cap and luxury tax protections in place before the Oct. 16 draft” is leading some teams to push for a delay of both the draft and free agency.
At this juncture, nothing is official with regard to any delay, with teams still operating under the assumption of a back-to-back lineup of the draft and free agency in mid-October. Still, the Atlanta Hawks enter the 2020 off-season with the most salary cap space in the NBA and a pending contract extension decision with regard to John Collins. As such, Travis Schlenk’s planning will be affected, at least in some way, by any change to the current projections.
Stay tuned as additional information unfolds but, as many fans brace for an eight-week gap between the lottery and the draft, it now seems possible that the break could be even longer than expected.