The NBA Draft Combine and Draft Lottery, both scheduled in May and both taking place in Chicago, have been indefinitely postponed, the league announced on Friday.
In practice, this means the NBA Draft itself, scheduled for June 25, also will be postponed, although the league has not yet made that official. Teams at the top of the Draft after the lottery want a month to consider trade options and drill down on the players they may select.
The NBA’s owners voted to push back the Draft Lottery and Combine during a conference call on Friday.
For players who have declared for the Draft, this keeps them in limbo longer, but agents and players knew this was coming. For players trying to decide whether or not to return to college, they will need clarification from the NCAA on that timeline. The date to make a decision had been June 3, but officially it is 10-days after the Draft Combine, which is now on hold. Will the NCAA keep the June 3 date or move it? Those players are still getting feedback from teams and scouts on where they are projected to fall in the Draft.
This postponement was expected.
While NBA front offices had been preparing for the Draft — it’s not like there are games to prep for — the league office had been clear from the start that the Draft itself would not take place until after the NBA playoffs are concluded (in whatever form they take), or until the season had to be canceled outright. Right now, all of that is up in the air.
For people looking for a ray of hope that the league will restart, this is it — if the rest of the season and playoffs were going to be canceled, the league would move ahead with the Draft Lottery to keep the offseason on schedule.
However, amidst a growing urgency, there is optimism around the league that the NBA will have its playoffs and crown a champion — in a bubble without fans, but the games would be played. That will likely mean pushing back next season until a December start, but owners and players seem open to trying that idea. For the league, it means a better chance of starting next season with fans in arena seats again.