In a shift that has taken much longer to occur than it should have, the NBA is expected to move the beginning of the free agency moratorium period from July 1st at 12:00 am to June 30th at 6:00 pm, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN:
The NBA is expected to move up the start of its annual moratorium on free-agent negotiations from midnight ET on July 1 to 6 p.m. on June 30, sources told ESPN.
While the decision isn’t finalized, the expectation is that it will be implemented for this year’s free-agency period.
The decision is long overdue, as the current system has forced players and teams to work into the early-morning hours on July 1 to conduct the opening rounds of business in free agency. Moving up the start will allow people to have a more normal schedule.
As Bontemps explains, this just makes sense as it puts things on a “normal schedule”. It’s not going to have too much of an impact other than on free agency media coverage, although I suppose the players would like to not have to begin negotiations at midnight when many would probably rather be sleeping or enjoying nightlife or spending time with their significant other.
If you’re a little confused about the difference between the start of the moratorium period and the official start of the free agency period, allow me to explain. In theory, most NBA franchises would love to start signing free agents as quickly as possible. However, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association need time to figure out exactly how much money was generated from basketball related income from the preceding season. Once that number is determined, they can set budgets for the upcoming season. So what the moratorium period does is allow teams and players to begin to negotiate contracts and come to tentative verbal agreements while the audits are being performed, rather than sitting around wasting time. Then come July 6th, once free agency officially begins and budgets are established, those agreements can be made official when contracts are signed.
To wrap back around, if you’re wondering why moving the moratorium up a few hours matters at all if signings still can’t be made official until July 6th — well, just think of your own career. Would you ever intentionally schedule business meetings at midnight?