NBA free agency officially starts on June 30 at 6 p.m. Eastern. The NBA moved up the start of free agency from midnight on July 1st to a few hours earlier on June 30th.
The move was made to allow teams to meet with players at a more reasonable time and also increase media attention as free agency now begins in primetime rather than midnight when most people on the East Coast are sleeping.
Teams can contact free agents or their agents beginning on June 29 at 6 p.m. Eastern to set up meetings for the following day, per NBA.com. While NBA free agency begins on June 30, no contract can be signed until July 6 with the exception of rookies and restricted free agents, per Sporting News. Teams often reach verbal agreements prior to July 6, but nothing is binding until a contract is signed.
There is a lot of excitement heading into the upcoming free agency with so many top players potentially on the market. The top free agents include Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and Jimmy Butler.
Injuries Complicates NBA Free Agency
Injuries to Durant and Thompson during the NBA finals complicates free agency. While it is unlikely to prevent teams from signing either All-Star to long-term deals, it is another factor for franchises to consider this summer. ESPN reported that Durant is still likely to test the free agent waters despite there being a good chance he could miss the entire 2019-20 season.
Will Durant still decide to opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent? Several league sources told ESPN that they expect Durant to follow through and hit free agency, despite the long recovery time ahead of him. And if he does, will the Warriors follow through and offer him the five-year maximum contract extension worth $221 million? Will other teams offer their maximum four-year, $164 million contract? Several league sources told ESPN that they expect the Warriors and Durant’s other suitors to offer the maximum allowable contract, despite the serious injury.
Los Angeles and New York City Will Take Center Stage During NBA Free Agency
It is a unique summer not just because of the available talent, but the major market teams that have cap space at the same time. New York City and Los Angeles are the only cities that share NBA teams. The Lakers, Clippers, Knicks and Nets are all expected to be major suitors for max-level free agents.
The Lakers are looking for another All-Star to pair with LeBron James. Brooklyn is coming off a playoff appearance and wants to take the next step with a franchise player. The same could also be said for the Clippers, while the Knicks have been deep in the rebuilding process.