The end of 2020 could be incredibly hectic for the NBA. With the league reportedly aiming to start the 2020-21 season on December 22 (with a 72-game schedule), there’s a lot to fit in over the next couple of months.
Marc Stein of The New York Times has reported that some teams are preparing for free agency to begin as early as November 20 or 21, in order to be ready if next season’s intended start date of December 22 is finalized.
Some teams, I'm told, are preparing for NBA free agency to begin as early as Nov. 20 or Nov. 21 -- 48 to 72 hours after the Nov. 18 NBA Draft -- if the plan to start the 2020-21 season Dec. 22 goes ahead. Further clarity is expected by week's end ...— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 27, 2020
Free agency potentially beginning just two or three days after the NBA Draft is going to make the end of November chaotic to say the least. This places even more pressure on front offices to swiftly evaluate their rosters and team needs after the draft. Teams and free agents always come to agreements before the official beginning of free agency (and that will already be underway), but there’s going to be a serious rush after the draft for teams to get final plans in place and talk to players.
And for a team like the Philadelphia 76ers, with Elton Brand still in place as a GM (who clearly needs to prove himself after keeping his role and taking on more responsibility so far this offseason) and some new executives onboard like Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations Peter Dinwiddie (who will serve as Brand’s No. 2), it’s safe to say the pressure will be on if this possible schedule goes ahead. With the taxpayer’s mid-level exception (worth approximately $5.7 million) and minimum deals as their only main methods to add talent in free agency, the Sixers have to execute with small deals if they want to find better shooting, perimeter creation, and depth for next season.
Furthermore, if the December 22 start date for 2020-21 happens, it’s likely that training camps will begin on December 1. Once rosters are set after free agency, teams won’t have long before it’s time to start practicing. Rookies in particular will be in for a whirlwind entrance to the league — getting drafted, moving to their new city, going to training camp, and starting their first NBA season in just over a month.