This year’s NBA offseason will be unlike any other. With next season starting on December 22 and the NBA Draft taking place on November 18, it was always going to be a whirlwind. Giving teams just two days from the end of the draft to the start of free agency only adds to the chaos.
This has been rumored for some time, but now it’s official. The NBA and NBPA have announced their agreement on several new details for the upcoming offseason and 2020-21, including confirmation that free agency will begin on November 20. Negotiations will begin on this date at 6 PM ET, followed by signings starting at 12:01 PM on November 22.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has also reported that the NBA is working towards lifting the moratorium to let trades begin two or three days before the draft.
Another key takeaway from the league’s announcement is the fixed salary cap at $109.14 million and luxury tax at $132.62 million. While there were some expectations that the 2020-21 salary cap would drop even further than $109.1 million, the fact that it’s still falling short of the original $115 projection for next season is rough news for teams like the Philadelphia 76ers that were already set to be way over the cap. The Sixers are sitting at a hefty $145.44 million in guaranteed salary for next season.
The bit of good news for tax-paying teams is that besides the salary cap being set to increase by at least 3 percent per year as the NBA gets back to some kind of normality, luxury tax payments are changing. Tax payments will be reduced in proportion to any basketball related income (BRI) decline below league projections. For instance, if the NBA’s BRI drops by 25 percent and the Sixers’ luxury tax bill drops by 25 percent with it, their savings could be fairly significant.
Fortunately the Sixers have a vastly improved front office in place to lead them through this offseason, with Daryl Morey at the helm. How will Morey handle the draft? How will he work the margins of the roster with small deals in free agency? And will any bigger moves (like an Al Horford trade) be coming soon?
It’s going to be a crazy few weeks in the NBA world.