The NBA Draft is known for rounding out the end of June, followed by the beginning of NBA Free Agency on July 1. But what if the NBA flipped the order? Zach Lowe of ESPN has detailed the Houston Rockets’ proposal to do just that; one that is gaining traction around the league:
Imagine what the Cleveland Cavaliers might have done with the No. 8 pick in last week’s draft if they knew -- really knew -- whether LeBron James would return next season. With a commitment from James, maybe they would have been more aggressive dangling that pick for veteran help. If LeBron had already bolted, or informed the Cavs of plans to do so, they could have picked without even considering his wishes.
There are obvious advantages to flipping the draft and free agency time periods. Teams would have greater knowledge of what their returning roster would look like when deciding who to draft.
According to Lowe, the Rockets are not the first team to kick the idea around, but are the first team to officially propose the change to the NBA:
This is one kind of scenario the Houston Rockets envisioned in April, when they proposed at a league meeting that the NBA should start free agency at least a week -- and likely more -- before the draft. The Rockets are not the first team to contemplate that notion; Mike Zarren, Boston’s assistant general manager, used his very first tweet as a plea to flip the order of the draft and free agency. (The concept is popular across Boston’s brain trust; Zarren noted in his tweet that Austin Ainge, Boston’s director of player personnel, sold him on the idea.) Other leagues, including the National Football League, schedule free agency first.
With a large portion of NBA teams currently approaching or above the salary cap, proponents of the idea say that this change would help teams manage their cap space more efficiently.
How do you feel about the proposal? Let us know in the comments.