Game 7 of the NBA Finals ended late in the night June 20 when the Miami Heat got to spill a lot of champagne.
Seven days later, June 27, was the NBA Draft.
That’s a tight turnaround. Part of the fun of the draft is the rumors, speculation, the break downs, the guess work as to who goes where in the run up to the day teams have to make picks. The NFL is the master of making this almost a second season. In the NBA this year there wasn’t time for much of any of that stuff — the post Finals coverage went on for days then suddenly the draft arrived. The process was condensed.
Which has the NBA talking with its television partners about pushing the draft back a week, reports Jeff Zillgitt of the USA Today.
The NBA believes it can turn the draft into a bigger event and showcase its new players and generate more interest in the draft by creating more distance between the conclusion of the Finals and the draft. The hangover from the Finals lingers into draft week, suppressing some of the drama, excitement and coverage leading up to the event.
NBA and ABC/ESPN and Turner executives began preliminary discussions during the playoffs about the next TV deal – the current deal expires after the 2015-16 season – and moving the draft back was part of the talks.
The problem is the NBA calendar is already pretty long. If you push back the draft a week, then you have to push back the start of free agency a week, and now you risk dragging that out into August (something the league doesn’t want). This move also would likely push the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (and Orlando) back a week as well.
The NBA is going to spend this summer trying to strike while the pro sports rights iron is hot and get a new television deal in place. This would be part of that.
One way the NBA could solve this would be to tighten up the playoff schedule… oh, who am I kidding, that’s not happening. We’ll see if they can work the dates out.