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Can an NBA Player Refuse a Draft?

The NBA Draft is one of the most anticipated days of their young career for a lot of NBA hopefuls. These young athletes are hoping to hear their name selected in order to have their lives changed forever from that point forward. However, there are some instances where players just want to avoid this whole process.

Can an NBA Player Refuse a Draft? Yes, a player can refuse the NBA Draft. An NBA team can select any person who meets certain criteria with their draft pick. They can do this whether that person has actively entered the NBA Draft or not. However once a player has been selected by a team, they can only sign an NBA contract with that team. The choice is to join them or do not join the NBA at all.

Each situation is different, Larry Bird is one of the most famous players to not immediately sign his NBA contract. He returned to College for another year, but the Celtics were happy to wait and snapped him up as soon as he became eligible to be drafted in 1978. A player can simply refuse to enter his name into the NBA Draft pool if he doesn’t want to enter that year. Unless he meets auto enrolment criteria such as playing four years in college or holding a professional Basketball Contract in the US. They could opt to stay in school further years and not be pressured into the decision.

Refusing To Enter the Draft

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much hype you have. If you don’t feel comfortable entering the NBA, then you don’t have to. There are college players out there that have all the talent in the world, and are easily predicted to be drafted in the top 10. However, they don’t feel comfortable about their game yet or might be wanting to get their stock even higher than before. Either way, they can simply choose not to enter the draft. Despite all of the media, fans and scouts hoping for them too.

Refusing To Play on A Certain Team

This is a touchy subject for a lot of teams. Yes, a player can literally refuse to play for a specific team if he doesn’t want too. The reason this is possible in the first place is because teams aren’t going to take a leap on a player that has made it clear he won’t show up to practice. Even if they decide to force his hand and hold onto him, he wouldn’t ever be able to regain the trust and chemistry of his teammates, thus causing this black hole on the roster. NBA Draft prospects can take advantage of these situations by avoiding a few specific teams. Again, saying publicly that you don’t want to play for a team in the league instantly puts a target on your back. It tells other staff members across the league that your personality may not be team oriented and that you may not work well with others. The other way that a team can pretty much refuse to play elsewhere is if he knows he will be drafted at the top of his class. For example, somebody like DeAndre Ayton knew that he was going to be the top overall selection. He understood that the Phoenix Suns held that top pick. So, he only visited with the Suns on a private workout and an interview. He didn’t give anybody else a chance to even think about drafting him. Ayton knew where he wanted to go and cut out the teams that didn’t fit for him. This is another way that a player can refuse to sign or get drafted by a specific team. The team that Drafts you can choose to hold on to you for a minimum of 4 years and would be in the best place to offer you a max extension after 3 years. So it could be a long 7 years a team has their claws in you, if you don’t start out on the right foot with them.

Other Options for NBA Players

Some top-notch college players just don’t want to go into the NBA. This isn’t unusual at all. Joining the NBA isn’t something that you are forced into when you are talented at the sport of basketball when playing on the college level. For players, they can refuse to take this standard path and go elsewhere. We previously mentioned the G-League and how players have been heading down there to play against professional opponents while still earning money for their services. Outside of the G-League, there are a ton of other international options to head into that still earn you a good income. The Chinese Basketball Association is one of the most popular. You have probably heard about this league more than most of the other international ones. This is where you can see a lot of unsigned or veteran NBA players go in order to continue their basketball career. For the most part, these guys go over there and play phenomenal basketball. So, it isn’t the worst idea if you want to improve your game and just put-up insane stats. Bottom line, most countries have themselves a basketball league and you could go there to play if it just fits better for you. Maybe a player has a lot of family that lives in a different country but he is a fantastic college basketball player. He could refuse to enter into the draft at all and just head overseas to play closer to home. Again, this situation varies from player to player but it isn’t something that never happens. Thankfully, there are more than enough options for these guys to go to if the NBA isn’t exactly their end goal in life.