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NBA sets dates for 2020 Draft and free agency

Tim Reynolds, Associated Press

Tuesday 23 June 2020 16:49, UK

Zion Williamson shakes hands with Adam Silver after being selected first in the 2019 NBA Draft
Image: Zion Williamson shakes hands with Adam Silver after being selected first in the 2019 NBA Draft

The NBA has firmed up the schedule for what will be a hectic time for teams this autumn, deciding on October 16 as the date for this year's Draft and saying clubs can begin talking to free agents two days later.

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The annual free agency moratorium will begin at 5:01am UK time on October 19 and continue through 5pm UK time October 23, the league told teams on Saturday in a memo obtained by The Associated Press.

As was the case last season, teams and free agents can begin negotiating six hours before the moratorium - so 11pm UK time on October 18.

Former Duke team-mates RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Zion Williamson pose after all being selected in the Top 10 of the 2019 NBA Draft
Image: Former Duke team-mates RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Williamson pose after all being selected in the Top 10 of the 2019 NBA Draft

It could be a wildly busy few days in October for the NBA. If the schedule for the restarted season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida, goes as planned, Game 7 of the NBA Finals could be held on October 13, followed by the draft three days later and then free agency almost immediately following.

By setting the draft date, the NBA also firmed up August 17 as the early entry deadline and October 6 as the early entry withdrawal dates.

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The league also clarified the procedure for teams should any need arise to replace a player who either was excused from participating in the restart, would be protected from playing for health reasons or chose to not play.

Starting on July 1 and going through the end of the seeding games, expected to be August 14, substitute players can be signed to take the place of someone who falls into those categories. If a player tests positive for coronavirus after the seeding games end, teams would still be allowed to replace them - but only with someone who has three years or less of NBA service.

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And if a player - excluding two-way players - refuses to participate in games at Disney, he would lose about 1.1 per cent of his salary for every game missed. That would be capped after 14 games, or roughly 15.1 per cent of the player's contract. Players who are excused or protected from participating would not be subject to lost salary.

Teams will also be able to sign players to rest-of-season contracts, when eligible, starting Tuesday and continuing through June 30.

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