The NBA and National Basketball Players Association have agreed to shorten the free agent moratorium to five days, sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. This year’s free agency moratorium will last from July 1st-6th. Free agent contracts can now be signed much sooner after verbal agreements are reached, Wojnarowski points out. (Twitter links).
The league office sent a memo Thursday to team owners, front-office executives, financial representatives and team counsels regarding the change, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today tweets. Any changes to the current collective bargaining agreement typically require a side letter signed by the league and the players, and rules regarding the moratorium fall under the CBA, Bobby Marks of The Vertical notes (Twitter link).
The moratorium lasted until July 9th during last season’s free agency period and controversy arose over DeAndre Jordan‘s late switch during his unrestricted free agency. Jordan made a verbal agreement with the Mavericks, then changed his mind and remained with the Clippers after some heavy lobbying by his Los Angeles teammates. A shorter free agency period will make it more difficult for such flip-flops to take place once a verbal agreement is reached.
The moratorium period gives the NBA a chance to audit its finances, project next season’s revenue and set salary cap levels. Those salary cap levels determine crucial financial items such as maximum and minimum player salaries, the luxury tax threshold, and signing tools such as the mid-level exception.
The moratorium was to run through July 11th for this summer and next prior to Thursday’s agreement, so this speeds up the free agency process by nearly a week, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders points out. The fact that the NBA and NBPA were able to find common ground on this issue bodes well for future negotiations, Pincus adds (Twitter links).