NBA finalizes series of offseason dates

(Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)

The National Basketball Association has finalized a series of dates for offseason activities that could set up a particularly frenetic stretch for the league in October.

Following Board of Governor meetings earlier this month to set up the restart the NBA season in Orlando, Florida, the league has now settled on a date of October 16 for the 2020 NBA Draft, according to a memo obtained by the Associated Press. Clubs will be able to start negotiating with free agents just two days later. 

Each of those dates will also be just days after a Game 7 of the NBA Finals that would be held on October 13 if that series goes to its maximum length.

The finalized dates represent slight adjustments from what was originally contemplated in the Board of Governors meeting. But as the NBA seeks to come back to action amid a new and sharp upward spike in Covid-19 cases, the league is looking to aid teams in planning for both the conclusion of the current 2019-20 season, as well as plan for next year.

To that end, potential early-entry candidates for the upcoming Draft will have until August 17 to declare their intentions.

A firm date for the start of the 2020-21 season has not been finalized. But a tentative date of December 1 has been identified for that. And officials around the league have suggested that timetable will require a condensed schedule for next year.

The NBA is also finalizing protocols for teams replacing players in Orlando that test positive for Covid-19. Beginning July 1 and going through the end of seeding games that will set up the forthcoming postseason, teams will be able to replace players testing positive, but only with someone with three years or less of service time in the NBA. 

Players, not including those two-way minor league contracts, who voluntarily decline to participate in the season restart will forfeit about 1.1 per cent of their salary for each game missed, with that forfeiture capped at 14 games. Players excused or protected from playing will not be subject to salary forfeiture.