NBA, NBPA Agree To Amended CBA; Free Agency To Begin Nov. 20

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have reached an agreement on an amended Collective Bargaining Agreement in advance of the 2020/21 league year, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim Bontemps. The league and union issued a press release confirming the news.

As a result of the agreement, free agency will begin on 6:00 pm eastern time on Friday, November 20, less than 48 hours after the November 18 draft. After a brief moratorium, signings will officially be permitted starting on Sunday, November 22 at 12:01 pm.

Here are several of the other highlights of the new deal:

  • As expected, the regular season will begin on December 22 and there will be a 72-game schedule. The full schedule will be released at a later date.
  • The salary cap will once again be $109,140,000 and the luxury tax line will be $132,627,000. Those are the same numbers as in 2019/20. As a result, figures like minimum and maximum salaries and mid-level/bi-annual amounts will remain the same.
  • The NBA will reduce the luxury tax bill of taxpaying teams at the end of 2020/21 season by the percentage amount that the league’s Basketball Related Income falls short of its initial projections.  For instance, a 30% decline in BRI would result in a 30% reduction of a taxpayer’s bill — say, from $10MM to $7MM. This should benefit projected taxpayers such as the Warriors, Nets, Celtics, and Sixers, among others.
  • The cap will increase by a minimum of 3% per year and a maximum of 10% per year through the rest of the current CBA. For 2021/22, that means the cap will be at least $112,414,200, and could be as high as $120,054,000.
  • The standard 10% of player salaries will continue to be held in escrow for the time being. Any necessary salary reductions will be spread out over next season and the following two seasons, but players can never have more than 20% of their salaries withheld in a single season.

The NBA’s transaction freeze remains in place for now, but the expectation is that it will be lifted early next week, perhaps two or three days before the November 18 draft, according to Bontemps and Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Once that freeze ends, teams will be permitted to formally finalize trades and other roster moves.

The league is also expected to soon announce new dates and deadlines for player/team option decisions, certain salary guarantees, qualifying offer decisions, and the expiration of trade exceptions.

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