NBA front offices woke up Sunday morning to a more than 60-page memo from the league office breaking down the salary cap and rules on trades, the details on the play-in tournament, and more about next season.
This is exactly what front offices had been asking for, but it’s going to take teams a couple of days to digest all the rules. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks Tweeted out a lot of details from the memo. Here is a timeline from that for the next NBA season:
• Nov. 16, at noon Eastern, the moratorium on trades is lifted (allowing things like the Lakers’ trading for Dennis Schroder to be formalized, although that one can’t be consummated until after the draft).
• Nov. 18, the 2020 NBA Draft.
• Nov. 19, all player and team options on next-season contracts have to be picked up or declined (there are a handful of exceptions, most notably Anthony Davis‘ deadline is Monday, but we know what he will do).
• Nov. 20, 6 p.m. Eastern, free agency opens.
• Dec. 1, training camps open.
• Dec. 21, the last day for a player to sign a super-max or rookie contract extension until after the season (this is the Giannis Antetokounmpo deadline to sign a deal before the season, which seems unlikely).
• Dec. 22, the 72-game NBA season tips off.
• March 5-10, an All-Star break in games (but no All-Star Game itself).
• May 16, end of the NBA regular season.
• May 17-21, Play-in tournament for the seven and eight seeds. While the owners still must vote on this, the tournament would have the No. 7 play the No. 10 seed and the No. 8 play the No. 9, with the higher seed needing to win just one of two games and the lower seed needing to sweep the two games to move into the playoffs.
• May 22, NBA playoffs start.
• July 8, start of NBA Finals. Games could run as late as July 22, which would have them ending just before the Tokyo Olympics start July 23 (something the league’s broadcast partners wanted to happen).
One big missing date from that list: The trade deadline. That is not yet formalized, according to ESPN’s Marks.
Teams will be able to use their two-way players in up to 50 games; there is no 45-day limit, reports Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. That is vital in a COVID-19 world where teams undoubtedly will have to deal with missed games by players due to the coronavirus.
Teams will play games in their home arenas, in front of a limited number, if any, fans. The schedule is designed to reduce travel, which could include MLB-style homestands with two teams playing a couple of times in a row.
Details on the league’s coronavirus protocols and testing for the season are still being finalized.
The league salary cap will remain the same as last season at $109.1 million, and it’s the same with the luxury tax at $132.6 million. Wojnarowski breaks down what teams were told to expect in future years (but this can move depending upon league revenue):
In a nod to teams, ones paying the tax will see their bill reduced by the same percentage the league falls short of its revenue goals for next season.
According to Wojnarowski, both the players and owners can now opt-out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement after each of the next three seasons. That keeps a negotiation window open if things need to be adjusted, which is possible in the unpredictable world we live in.