Teams Preparing For Possibility Free Agency Begins 48-72 Hours After Draft

The NBA draft is locked in for November 18. Now that the league is eyeing December 1 as the potential start date for training camps, that doesn’t leave much of a window for 2020’s free agent period.

Taking that projected time frame into account, some teams are preparing for the possibility that free agency will open on November 20 or 21, just 48 to 72 hours after the draft, says Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

Before last Friday, when it still seemed as if the NBA would push back its regular season start date for 2020/21 well into the new year, there was a general belief that free agency would begin near the end of November — perhaps even as late as December 1. That’s no longer a realistic option if camps are to open at the start of December, so the league will presumably aim to get free agency underway before Thanksgiving.

Of course, the December 22 start date for the ’20/21 season – as well as the rumored December 1 date for training camps – has yet to be approved by the NBPA, so it remains to be seen whether such a breakneck pace will be necessary for the offseason.

However, assuming the players’ union does sign off on the NBA’s proposal, a November 20 or 21 start for free agency seems about right. That would give the league a brief window after the draft for deadlines for option decisions, qualifying offers, and certain salary guarantees before the new league year gets underway.

Further clarity on the NBA’s schedule is expected by the end of the week, according to Stein.

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