NBA free agency starts today, June 30 at 6 p.m. Eastern as the NBA opted to move up the time by six hours to allow players, teams and agents to meet at a more reasonable time. It will likely also help fans trying to follow free agency news as it falls during primetime rather than when many people are sleeping. For those wondering when NBA free agency ends, there is no technical end date as players are able to sign with teams during the season, but the majority of player movement typically takes place during the first two weeks of July.
Be sure to follow Heavy’s coverage of NBA free agency with updated rosters, contract details and all the latest rumors. ESPN’s The Jump: NBA Free Agency Special will air tonight on ESPN2 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern. Teams were permitted to reach out to players and their representatives beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern on June 29, per the NBA press release.
Teams and players will now be permitted to begin free agent negotiations at 6 p.m. ET on June 30 — six hours earlier than the previous start time of 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1.
By league rules, teams also will be permitted to communicate with free agents or their representatives beginning at 6 p.m. ET on June 29 solely for the purpose of scheduling a meeting to take place at or after 6 p.m. ET on June 30.
Teams cannot officially sign players to contracts until July 6 at 12 p.m. Eastern. This means that while players can verbally agree to deals beginning on June 30, technically it is not binding until a contract is signed.
Kevin Durant & Kawhi Leonard Headline the Top NBA Free Agents
Injuries during the NBA finals put a bit of a damper on free agency with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson likely to miss a good portion of next season. Both players will still have no shortage of suitors, but Thompson is expected to sign with the Warriors on a max deal. Fresh off his NBA title run with the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard also headlines the group of top free agents.
For the first time in recent memory, the two major NBA markets, Los Angeles and New York City, each have two teams with sizable cap space. The Lakers, Clippers, Knicks and Nets are all expected to be very active when free agency begins.
Free agency has not technically started but there are a few deals that are rumored to be announced when the period officially begins. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Kemba Walker is expected to sign with the Celtics. Multiple reports suggest Kyrie Irving to the Nets is a done deal. The New York Times Marc Stein reported the Magic are prepared to offer Nikola Vucevic a potential $90 million contract to try to prevent the All-Star center from meeting with other teams.