Thanks to some reporting from ESPN — Woj and Bontemps are all over it — we now have more details about the 2020 NBA off-season. Working backwards from the date of the NBA Draft (November 18) to the start of training camps (December 1) and the 2020-21 season (December 22), it became clear that the window for free agency was going to have to open and close fast.
As a result, the league’s free agency period, which often invites much excitement and fanfare, will begin on Friday, November 20th at 6pm EST. This will give teams just 10 days to get their rosters sorted out before heading full-on into their preparations for the 2020-21 season. Also, by the way, the Toronto Raptors still don’t know where they are going to play their home games this season. (Apparently Nashville is now in the lead?)
For the number crunchers out there, Woj and Bontemps report that the league’s salary cap is going to be set at $109.1 million, with the luxury tax line set for $132.6 million — both of which represent zero change from last season. I’m going to quote directly from the reported ESPN piece now because it clearly relates the needed info:
Teams had been expecting both numbers to remain the same next season for some time now, as it was better for both the teams and the players to avoid a massive drop in the salary cap for next season because of the unplanned drop in revenue.
The salary cap is going to be guaranteed to go up by a minimum of 3% per year — and a maximum of 10% — through the remainder of the collective bargaining agreement.
What this suggests is that the league is trying to smooth the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown (and lost revenue), even going so far as to offer tax relief to teams who based their spending plans around a constantly increasing salary cap and luxury tax limit. There’s more interesting bits of info in there as well — related to, as mentioned previously, escrow and withholding system — so we now have a firmer picture of the league’s financial picture going forward.
We also now have a sense of where the Raptors stand financially, which makes planning for a potential Fred VanVleet re-signing a little clearer. (According to our cap expert Daniel Hackett, this announcement give the Raptors about $3 million more to work with; we’ll have a specific update on that soon.)
How that will play out for Toronto (and the league) is still up in the air, of course, but we can at least look to November 20th as the date when it will presumably all happen.