The New York Knicks might have to wait until November to draft new players.
Pending discussions with league owners and players later this week, the NBA is targeting November 18 for the 2020 NBA Draft, according to ESPN. This marks the second adjustment to the draft date, which was originally scheduled for June 25 before the pandemic forced the league to move it to October 16.
According to the report, amendments to the CBA still need to be negotiated to set a salary cap and luxury tax threshold for the 2020-21 season, something that needs to be completed before the league calendar turns back to the business of roster planning.
If the draft is finally conducted in mid-November, it would be eight months since the New York Knicks last played a meaningful basketball game. Typically, even for teams who fail to qualify for the playoffs, there is only a 2.5 month gap between the end of the regular season and the draft.
Despite the added prep time, the pandemic has limited the ability of teams to scout potential draft picks. Teams are reduced to game film and Zoom meetings instead of in-person workouts. The college basketball season was shutdown before March Madness.
New York owns three picks in the upcoming draft: 8th, 27th, and 38th. After dropping two spots in the lottery, it’s unclear how the Knicks will use their lottery pick. So far, they have been linked to Auburn’s Isaac Okoro and Florida State’s Devin Vassell.
With the draft moving to November 18, presumably the start of free agency will follow a few days later. A report came out earlier this week indicating the league could also delay the start of the 2020-21 season. Some have optimistically targeted December 1 as a start date, but that seems unrealistic now.
Meanwhile, the Knicks are preparing for their first team workouts with recently-hired coach Tom Thibodeau, which are supposed to kick off later this month.