To allow for its teams to have all the necessary information to make offseason preparations, the NBA will announce its all-NBA teams before its inaugural awards show in late June, according to league sources.
Because of the newly created Designated Player Exception, which relies on players making, among other things, one of the three all-NBA teams to qualify, decisions about whether players — such as Indiana Pacers star Paul George, for example — will be willing to remain with their current team or be open to being traded elsewhere could be based upon whether a player is voted on to one of the teams.
The newly created awards show will air on June 26, several days after the NBA draft, which, if the all-NBA teams were announced during the awards show, would have put teams in a tough spot. The Pacers, for example, wouldn’t know whether George qualifies for the massive extra payout that comes with being eligible for the DPE, or if he would not, which could make the team more willing to trade him with one year left on his contract before he can become a free agent.
Given that draft night is one of the most active trade days of the season, having all 30 teams know who will and won’t qualify for the DPE heading into it, and the offseason, will allow everyone to accurately gauge where things are headed.
In past seasons, the beginning of the NBA playoffs has also coincided with the rollout of the league’s annual awards, including Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. Also included in those announcements has been the unveiling of the three all-NBA teams — the list of the league’s best players, by position, in a given season.
That all changed this year, however, when the NBA announced it would be holding an awards show in late June, a few days after the draft. Instead of the slow and steady release of winners, with individual news conference in their various locations, all of the award winners would convene to be celebrated in a grand spectacle in New York.
In a vacuum, no big deal, right? But something else also changed this year: in the new collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and its players, which is set to go into effect on July 1, there was the creation of the DPE, a rule designed to allow teams to give star players coming to the end of their second contracts a larger deal than they normally could receive, assuming they meet various criteria.
One of them is that a player must be on the team that either drafted him, or that traded for him when he was on a rookie contract. The other is earning one of a variety of honors, including making one of the three all-NBA teams. That’s why the NBA is allowing everyone to be on a level playing field by bypassing the new awards show to announce the All-NBA teams in the weeks leading up to the draft.