The NBA announced Monday that the draft will be held on July 29, the draft lottery on June 22 and the draft combine June 21-27, as the league adjusts to its temporary schedule because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The NBA typically holds the lottery and combine in mid-May, the draft in late June, and free agency begins on July 1. But because the schedule has been pushed back, with the season starting in late December instead of mid-October, and the season lasting 72 games instead of the typical 82, everything has been rescheduled by roughly a month.
All three events will be aired on ESPN; the first round of the NBA draft will also air on ABC.
With the draft schedule in place, the NBA’s outline of the next few months is beginning to take shape. The regular season ends May 16 and will be followed by the league’s first play-in tournament, with teams from seventh to 10th in each conference playing for the final two postseason spots. The playoffs will then run into July for the first time.
With the draft scheduled for late July, it would seem that free agency could begin as soon as that weekend. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has indicated that the league would like to hold a version of its annual summer league to allow players selected in the draft a chance to acclimate to their new teams.
Silver also has said the NBA plans to get back onto its traditional schedule, meaning training camp will begin in late September and the season will start in mid-October.