The 2020-21 NBA season is complete, and that means free agency is right around the corner.
After signing with the Clippers just two years ago, Kawhi Leonard could once again become an unrestricted free agent and send NBA Twitter frenzy. He has a player option for the 2021-22 season, but could decline that option to sign a new contract. The most likely scenario is that Leonard will reach some sort of agreement with Los Angeles as he continues to recover from an ACL injury he sustained during the 2021 playoffs, although no one really knows what he will do.
Beyond Leonard, this year’s free-agent class is full of talented point guards who should be making big salaries, including Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley. There are some general managers with cap space who will try to remove those guys from their current teams and elevate their franchises.
And don’t forget that trade rumors will stay in the background. Will the 76ers move Ben Simmons? Will Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard request a trade? As Kevin Garnett once said, “Anything is possible.”
Here’s everything you need to know before NBA free agency, including the best players and teams available with the most salary cap space.
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When does NBA free agency start?
The NBA’s free agency will begin on August 2 at 6 p.m. ET. Teams can begin negotiating with free agents at that point, although the reality is that many of those conversations have already happened.
Most contracts cannot be officially signed until August 6 at 12:01 pm ET. However, many players will accept the terms of a contract verbally before putting pen to paper.
NBA free agency 2021: player rankings
|Free agent||Actual team||contract status|
|1. Kawhi Leonard||Pair of scissors||Player option|
|2. Chris Paul||Suns||Player option|
|3. Kyle Lowry||Raptors||Unrestricted|
|4. John Collins||Hawks||Restricted|
|5. Mike Conley||Jazz||Unrestricted|
|6. DeMar DeRozan||Spurs||Unrestricted|
|7. Lonzo Ball||Pelicans||Restricted|
|8. Jarrett Allen||Gentlemen||Restricted|
|9. Dennis Schroder||Lakers||Unrestricted|
|10. Duncan Robinson||Hot||Restricted|
NBA free agency 2021: teams with more room in projected salary cap
The salary cap for the 2021-22 season is expected to increase by just three percent, which would put the cap at approximately $ 112.4 million. If that number is maintained, the luxury tax would be around $ 136.6 million.
There are ways to create significant salary space for some teams this offseason, but keep in mind that they would have to let their own free agents walk to maximize flexibility.
(Estimates courtesy of ESPN’s Bobby Marks)
|Team||Possible lid space|
|1. Spurs||$ 50 million|
|2. Knicks||$ 47 million|
|3. Pelicans||$ 36 million|
|4. Thunder||$ 36 million|
|5. Bulls||$ 32 million|
|6. Heat||$ 21.5 million|
|7. Hornets||$ 20.5 million|
|8. Mavericks||$ 19 million|
NBA free agency 2021: latest news, rumors, updates
– How the Grizzlies-Pelicans deal could affect Kyle Lowry’s free agency
– The Mavericks are seen as the biggest threat to steal Kawhi Leonard from the Clippers
– Spencer Dinwiddie declines player option, “unlikely” to re-sign with Nets
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.