Imagine how different the NBA draft would have been last week if every team had already gotten their free agents signed. If the Houston Rockets have their way, that is the way the NBA offseason will be constructed in the very near future.
According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, the Rockets proposed a rule change in April at the league meetings that would put free agency before the NBA draft.
“As a staff, we have been kicking this around for a couple of summers now,” says Gersson Rosas, the Rockets’ executive vice president of basketball operations, who presented the idea to representatives from the league’s 30 teams “Is there a better way?”
Supporters of the rule change think it will give teams a better chance to use their salary cap more effectively, and would also increase trades that happen at the NBA draft.
“Only one team ends up with LeBron James. The losers will have wasted their time, and missed potential opportunities at the draft. Some then panic and overindulge on secondary free agents who don’t move the needle — mistakes that can crush teams for years.”
There have also been teams that have traded down in the draft, just to use less cap space on draft picks, and then end up missing out on the player they were going after. If the draft ends up after free agency, there won’t need to keep cap space open in hopes of landing that one star.
The draft also currently happens before the new league year starts, so expiring contracts aren’t off the books yet. That locks up how much money teams can trade, because they have money locked up in players that will be free agents in a couple of weeks.
It is still to be seen if the Rockets proposal will end up passing, but it seems to be really picking up steam around the league.