NBA postpones draft lottery, combine

The NBA has postponed its annual draft lottery and predraft scouting combine, citing the coronavirus pandemic, the league announced Friday.

Both events were scheduled to take place in May in Chicago.

The decision came out of a conference call with the league’s Board of Governors, which voted to postpone the lottery and combine but delayed deciding on the draft itself, which is scheduled for June 25.  

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The group also discussed the possibility of moving the start of the 2020-21 season back to December, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. While the discussions were not definitive, pushing back the league calendar may increase the chances of  games to be played with fans inside arenas.

The news comes at a key time for the league, with some player agents and team personnel reportedly calling for the remainder of the 2019-20 season to be canceled. LeBron James, however, spoke out in support of finishing the campaign on Twitter on Thursday.

The scouting combine typically involves about 70 players — along with front office personnel, doctors and members of the media — gathering to run drills, play games against one another and receive medical examinations.  

The NBA was the first major sports league in the United States to suspend play because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and no games have taken place since March 11. The league has missed 259 regular-season games during the shutdown. 

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