The July moratorium is a period at the start of each NBA season during which teams aren’t permitted to make trades or, in most cases, sign free agents. The specific dates vary from season to season, but for 2014, the moratorium will last from July 1st to July 9th. As of July 10th, teams can resume business as usual.
Each new NBA season officially begins on July 1st, which is also the day that players on expiring contracts become free agents. However, before players can sign with new teams, the NBA must complete its audit, which establishes figures like the salary cap, luxury tax threshold, and average salary. Free agents are allowed to negotiate with clubs during the moratorium, and can agree to terms on new contracts, but they are unable to officially sign a new deal until the moratorium ends.
Still, there are some types of signings and acquisitions that are permitted during the July moratorium:
- A first-round draft pick can sign a rookie scale contract with the team that drafted him.
- A second-round draft pick can accept a required tender, which is a one-year contract offer that allows a team to retain its rights to a drafted player.
- A restricted free agent can accept a qualifying offer from his team.
- A free agent can sign a minimum-salary contract for one or two seasons.
- Teams are able to claim players off waivers, providing they were waived during the final two days in June.
When the July moratorium ends, all free agents can officially sign contracts. Additionally, the new salary cap figures for the year take effect, and the seven-day period for using the amnesty clause begins.
Note: This is a Hoops Rumors Glossary entry. Our glossary posts will explain specific rules relating to trades, free agency, or other aspects of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ was used in the creation of this post.
Versions of this post, written by Luke Adams, were initially published on May 16th, 2012 and May 13th 2013.