Matt Slocum/Associated Press
As much of America and the entire world continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, the NBA‘s schedule for 2020 is still a question mark.
At the moment, the NBA draft is expected to remain on June 25, the association’s Finals could be pushed back to Labor Day weekend in September and the New York Knicks’ pursuit of Christian Wood may be back on the table.
CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported that teams around the league are getting set to make their draft picks as scheduled, but using virtual interviews and without any further in-person scouting:
Jon Rothstein @JonRothstein
Sources: Several NBA teams are preparing to make their selections for the 2020 NBA Draft based on Skype interviews and prior in-person scouting. Many are moving forward with the expectation of no combine, no workouts, and no in-person interviews.
Delaying the draft would allow teams to put players through workouts and get a feel for them in-person, but teams will already have much of the scouting they need from college basketball’s regular season.
The NBA Finals were set to run from June 4 to June 21, if needed, but the postponement of the season makes it possible those dates could be pushed back. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that the “loosest of drop-dead dates on completing the NBA Finals is Labor Day weekend in early September.”
All-Star Weekend was a tremendous midway point for the year, but it would be a disappointing finale to what was shaping up to be a tight competition for the NBA championship.
Wojnarowski’s sources suggest that the league is not settling on Labor Day weekend as the latest possible date, because “no one is ruling out” the possibility of finishing later in the year if necessary. Teams will need access to their playing facilities and players will need to be medically cleared to play. There is also the question of whether the regular-season schedule is shortened to start the playoffs sooner.
Christian Wood was one of the NBA’s first players to test positive for COVID-19, and Detroit Pistons beat writer Rod Beard’s sources indicate that the bouncy big is nearly medically cleared:
Rod Beard @detnewsRodBeard
A league source tells The Detroit News that #Pistons Christian Wood is almost cleared, after being one of the first NBA players to test positive for coronavirus.
The other 16 people (players and other staffers) who were tested all are negative and cleared quarantine today.
In a period when professional basketball is mostly dominated by rumors of schedule and format changes, this thrusts Wood right back into the mix as an alluring upcoming unrestricted free agent.
SNY’s Ian Begley already reported that members of the New York Knicks front office are “enamored” with Wood, and this return to health will be encouraging for them and other interested teams.
As a starter following Andre Drummond’s trade, Wood averaged 22.9 points and 9.9 rebounds for the Pistons while shooting 41.3 percent from deep. Wood mirrors Mitchell Robinson with his length and springs, but his touch from deep makes him an alluring candidate to complement New York’s current big.