NBA could push back draft, free agency to create awards show, per report

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA could significantly change NBA Draft television coverage.

The NBA has long held their annual NBA Draft at the end of June, but the league is "very interested" in pushing back the big night until after July 1 and could drastically alter their off-season scheduling. The NBA would extend draft coverage into a two-day event packaged with an awards show, reports Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports:

The NBA remains "very interested" in moving the draft after July 1 and packaging it with a season-ending awards show possibly on consecutive nights, a person familiar with the league's thinking told USA TODAY Sports.

The league would like to create more space between the end of the Finals and the draft so it can better promote the draft. The person requested anonymity because negotiations remain before both become official.

The NBA Finals usually end in the middle of June, leaving roughly two weeks between the final game of the series and the NBA Draft. The league currently conducts the draft in a single night, completing both rounds of selections in one session.  The 2014 NBA Draft earned a 3.1 overnight rating, making it the highest-rated draft ever on ESPN.

This could complicate offseason timetables, though. Free agency usually begins on July 1, but the the NBA would likely have to push it back until after the draft and awards show have ended. A deterrent to the league is causing free agency to drag into August, according to Zillgitt.

If the league decides to push with the proposed changes it would also have to negotiate with current television partners about creating a new draft schedule.The NBA's television contract expires after the 2015-2016 season and the league is expected to bring this possibility into the discussion.

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