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NBA Announces 72-Game Season, Key Free-Agency Dates, Salary Cap Under New CBA

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2020

An NBA logo is displayed outside a basketball arena Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced Monday that they have agreed to start the 2020-21 season—which will feature a 72-game schedule—on Dec. 22 and the free-agency negotiating period at 6 p.m. ET on Nov. 20.

The NBA's Board of Governors still has to approve the plan.

Under the agreement, the salary cap and luxury tax are $109.1 million and $132.6, respectively. Under the duration of the current collective bargaining agreement, the cap and tax levels will climb by at least 3 percent but no more than 10 percent over the prior season.

The free-agency moratorium will begin two days after the 2020 draft. That will allow coaches and general managers to have a better idea of their rosters before they weigh putting any offers on the table.

Players can begin to sign new contracts starting Nov. 22 at 12:01 p.m. ET.

One question that predated the pandemic was how busy the interlude between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons would be.

This year's free-agent class isn't particularly strong, especially when considering the two best players available probably won't actually be available.

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All signs point to Anthony Davis returning to the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers. Brandon Ingram is a restricted free agent, giving the New Orleans Pelicans the right to match any offer sheet.

And in the wake of the pandemic and its financial ramifications, the likes of DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Mike Conley, Gordon Hayward, and Evan Fournier have player options that look much more enticing than they did pre-pandemic.

This offseason was always supposed to be the warm-up to 2021, when Giannis Antetokounmpo leads a class that could include Davis, LeBron James, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Victor Oladipo, Jrue Holiday and LaMarcus Aldridge.

With limited money to spend already, the quick turnaround between now and the draft and then free agency and the regular season could make front offices wary of throwing around big contracts.