It’s going to get busy fast for Sean Marks and his GM counterparts around the league.
Late Monday, the NBA and the NBPA, the players union, agreed to a compact schedule for player movement that will likely start next Monday with the end of the league’s trade moratorium and continue for six days culminating in free agent signings.
Under the terms of the agreement, here’s what to expect...
—November 16: End of NBA trade moratorium;
—November 18: NBA Draft;
—November 20: beginning of free agency at 12:01 a.m.
—November 22: start of free agent signings at 6:00 p.m.
Eight days later, teams will open training camps at their own practice facilities, followed by up to three preseason games, then the start of the season on December 22. It’s possible that the end of the trade moratorium could come as early as Sunday, November 15, five days from now.
The season, as reported previously, will be 72 games. The league also set the salary cap at $109.1 million and the luxury tax threshold at $132.6 million, the same numbers as this season. However, teams like the Nets who will be well over the threshold could get a break if league revenues fall below a projected $8.45 billion because of COVID-19 or a drop in Chinese revenues. Any reduction in the revenue figure would be reflected in luxury tax savings, ESPN reports.
For example, if revenue comes in at $5.9 million, a 30 percent drop, luxury taxes will also drop by 30 percent. With the Nets projected to have a luxury tax payment in excess of $50 million, such a reduction would help Brooklyn, one of four teams currently over the threshold.
The dates for options, guarantees, trade exception expiration, qualifying offers and extensions will be posted shortly after the agreement is ratified by the NBA governors, expected later this week.
Moreover, there remain other unresolved issues, like whether teams can carry 15 players plus two two-ways or simply 17 players. There remain questions on how the G League will operate as well. Some have suggested the NBA’s minor league could be held in a “bubble” or series of “bubbles.”
Also still unresolved: where will Raptors play their home games. International travel restrictions could force them to relocate to the US. Both Prudential Center in Newark and Barclays Center in Brooklyn have been mentioned as possibilities.
In general, the shortened player movement schedule would seem to be favor the Nets who have a big payroll but a stable roster. Teams with multiple free agents and options, both team and player, would face a more daunting task.
It’s anticipated that teams may already have deals —both trades and free agent signings — in place, just waiting for the bell to ring. There’s a lot of pent-up demand. The league has not permitted any trades since the middle of February and no signings since July when teams could sign substitute players for the Orlando “bubble.”
Brian Windhorst of ESPN hinted that the league is turning a blind eye to tampering violations. In a podcast Monday, Windhorst said that contracts are “flying.”
“Free agency has essentially already stared. As I have talked to executives, there is an incredible amount of chatter. Contracts are essentially being quasi-tendered. Definitely, players’ agents are communicating to teams what they want in contracts. And I’ve even heard of players who are – guys who are extension-eligible who could be traded – who have already communicated to teams that might trade for them what their price is for their extension. So, not only is there a bunch of trade talks, contracts are flying out there.”
The Nets big free agency question — what Sean Marks has called “priority No. 1” — revolves around how much to pay unrestricted free agent Joe Harris ... and over how many years. The 29-year-old Harris has said returning to Brooklyn is the “ideal situation” for him. They will also have decisions on Garrett Temple’s $5 million team option and whether to extend Jarrett Allen or let him become a restricted free agent a year from now. The Allen decision can likely wait until December 21, the day before Opening Night.
The Nets have also been rumored to be in trade talks with a variety of teams, as one would expect, with Jrue Holiday of the Pelicans the name most mentioned. Holiday, however, is reportedly being pursued by up to ten teams.
- NBA, players’ union reach agreement on amended CBA, with free agency set to begin Nov. 20 - Tim Bontemps - ESPN
- It’s done: The NBA comes back on Dec. 22, a 72-game season - Tim Reynolds - AP
- NBA, players amend CBA for Dec. 22 season start - Steve Popper - Newsday
- Five ways the 2020-21 NBA season start date affects the Nets - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic New York
- NBA, NBPA agree on 2020-21 season start and adjustments to CBA - NBA.com