NBA to mandate opt-in for draft entry

By Field Level Media
Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa center Luka Garza (55) catches a rebound during the second half of a men’s basketball game against Penn State on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021 at Carver Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions, 74-68. Garza broke the record for Iowa’s all-time leading scorer and now has a career total of 2,126 points. Mandatory Credit: Hannah Kinson/Daily Iowan via USA TODAY Network

With the NCAA granting all current players an extra year of eligibility, the NBA will shift to a system requiring all players to petition for entry into the 2021 draft.

The NCAA approved the extra year of eligibility in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The NFL approach to the eligibility shift was to expand the opt-out window for players who have declared for the draft until March 1 (Monday).

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According to ESPN, the NBA requirement was approved by the league office because the NCAA’s new approach changed the definition and application of “eligible players” for NBA draft consideration.

Current NBA collective bargaining agreement language grants graduating college seniors who exhausted their NCAA eligibility automatic entry into the following year’s draft.

ESPN reported the NBA plans to increase communication with its college basketball counterparts, including players considering entering the draft, to include direct evaluations of prospects. The goal is to arm prospects with a complete and honest evaluation before May, when the NBA pre-draft process typically ramps up, with prospect camps and the annual combine. Those events, of course, could be canceled due to the pandemic.

In 2020, 163 underclassmen submitted for entry into the NBA draft, which includes only 60 draft picks over two rounds. Players drafted in the second round receive non-guaranteed contracts.

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More is left to be sorted out for the NBA with regard to the entry deadline and any option for players to remove themselves from draft consideration.

The NBA draft date, traditionally the last Wednesday in June, has not been set because of a fluctuating game and playoff schedule. Commissioner Adam Silver has said he would like the league to return to the customary offseason schedule as soon as possible.

–Field Level Media