NBA changing pre-draft process for workouts, interviews

National Sports

The NBA has told teams that they may not conduct or attend any workouts with draft-eligible players during the league’s coronavirus hiatus, a major change from typical procedures.

Teams also are being prohibited “from watching, requesting, or sharing any video (live or recorded) of a draft-eligible player or prospective early entry player taking part in a workout” during the league’s shutdown. The NBA told teams of the rule changes Monday in a memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

Teams will be allowed to conduct interviews by phone or video, though they will be capped at a total of four hours with any draft prospect. They can also send questionnaires to players in advance of any interviews.

“Given the unique challenges associated with the current coronavirus situation, it is apparent that teams will not have the same scouting opportunities that are typically available in advance,” the league told teams in the memo.

For now, the NBA draft is still scheduled for June 25. The league shut down on March 11 after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Monday night that he does not believe the league will be able to make any decision on the future of the season until sometime in May at the earliest.

The workout ban applies to ones that would have been hosted by either teams, agents or other representatives. The NBA said that decision was made “consistent with government guidelines and advice from health experts regarding how to promote individual and public health while minimizing the spread of the coronavirus.”

Teams and their personnel can watch footage of any draft-eligible players or prospective early-entry players participating in games or practices that took place before the league’s hiatus began.

So far, the league has not changed the dates or format of the NBA Draft Combine or G League Elite Camp, both of which were scheduled for mid-May.

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