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NBA sets dates for 2020 draft, lottery and free agency

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The NBA is back, and we now know when the Lakers will have to prepare for free agency and the 2020 NBA Draft by.

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Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

In addition to an overwhelming vote to resume the 2019-20 season, the NBA has finalized the dates that the Lakers and the league’s other 29 teams will participate in the 2020 NBA Draft and Draft Lottery, as well as when free agency will take place, according to two of the league’s biggest insiders:

We’ll need to see how this season resumption attempt in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic goes before starting to count on those 2020-21 training camp and season start dates, but this still gives us a lot of info about what the Lakers will have to prepare for moving forward, and when they’ll have to do so by.

The draft is not the most significant event on the team’s calendar, given their current status as a contender, but it’s still important. The team will have its own first-round pick this year, but is sending its second-rounder to the Philadelphia 76ers. That first-round pick will likely fall 29th, if the current standings hold through the Lakers’ eight games when the season resumes in Orlando.

Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN currently project that the Lakers would take Aaron Nesmith, a 6’6 small forward out of Vanderbilt, if that order remains in place, but obviously there are a lot of question marks before then.

The bigger date for the Lakers will be free agency, when the team likely hopes it will be coming off of a championship as it attempts to keep Anthony Davis. The league’s cap situation, after all the revenue it’s lost due to the pandemic, isn’t set in stone yet, and could force Davis to make the unexpected choice to opt in to the final year of his current contract if the numbers drop far enough that it becomes no longer financially prudent to seek a new deal during this specific offseason.

But even if Davis does opt out — as most assumed he would after declining an extension with L.A. earlier this year — most around the league still think that the Lakers’ work to keep him is “mostly done.” Davis himself previously said he’s given “zero thought” to what he’ll do in free agency, and even though there is literally almost no way that is true, it would still be a massive upset (and likely require something going catastrophically wrong in the next few months) for him not to remain a Laker beyond this season.

Who the Lakers will target in free agency beyond Davis, and what their cap situation will look like, post-pandemic, is still uncertain, but at least now we know when we’ll start to get answers on all of those questions and more. The NBA is really close to being back, both on the court, and in terms of the off-court madness that makes it a nearly year-round focus of intense interest. Buckle up, because the next few months are going to be huge for the Lakers and the league as a whole.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.