Everything You Need to Know About NBA Free Agency


With the NBA Finals in the books, it’s now time to turn to NBA free agency, and the 2019 class is one full of hype and hope.

NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard may leave the Toronto Raptors right after leading the team to its first-ever NBA title and Kyrie Irving is expected to move to another team after a tumultuous season with the Boston Celtics.

Golden State Warriors stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are also available, despite the fact that neither may be available to play in the 2019-20 season due to injuries suffered in the NBA Finals.

Here’s everything you need to know to get ready for this summer’s NBA free agency period:

When Does NBA Free Agency Start?

  • NBA Free Agency starts officially on June 30 at 6 p.m. ET, allowing players and teams to officially negotiate new contracts. However, no free agent can officially sign their potentially agreed deals until July 6th at noon because of the league’s required Moratorium period, a week in the beginning of free agency that allows both players and teams to fully think about their signing decisions.
    • There are a few exceptions to the NBA”s Moratorium period to kick off free agency. As explained by NBA CBA FAQ:

    ·       Teams may sign their first round draft picks.

    ·       A second-round draft pick can accept a required tender, which is a one-year contract offer teams must submit to retain their rights to the player.

    ·       A restricted free agent can accept a qualifying offer from his prior team.

    ·       A restricted free agent finishing the fourth season of his rookie “scale” contract can accept a maximum qualifying offer.

    ·       A restricted free agent may sign an offer sheet with a new team, although the 48-hour matching period does not begin until the conclusion of the Moratorium.

    ·       Teams may sign players to minimum salary contracts for one or two seasons, with no bonuses of any kind.

    ·       Teams may sign players to Two-Way contracts, convert a Two-Way contract to a standard NBA contract, or convert a standard NBA contract with an Exhibit 10 to a Two-Way contract

    ·       Teams may waive players or claim players waived by other teams

    There’s no particular window of time for players to be signed. They can be signed at the beginning of free agency and through the season if they’re available.

What is the difference between an unrestricted free agent and a restricted free agent?

  • UFA– Unrestricted Free Agent – a player can sign with whoever they want as their old team no longer holds their rights

·       RFA– Restricted Free Agent – a player can agree to an offer from another team, however, their previous team has 48 hours to match those terms, thus keeping the player

·       Player option (PO): the player has the right to decide whether or not to stay with their current team for another year

·       Team option (TO): the team has the right to keep a player for one more year

Who are the best free agents available?

(2018 team in parentheses, status follows)

For more, check out our list on the NBA’s Top 25 Free Agents this summer

  • Kawhi Leonard (Toronto Raptors, PO)

·       Kyrie Irving (Boston Celtics, PO)

·       Kevin Durant  (Golden State Warriors, PO)

·       Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors, UFA)

·       Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets, UFA)

·       DeMarcus Cousins (Golden State Warriors, UFA)

·       Jimmy Butler (Philadelphia 76ers, PO)

·       Kristaps Porzingis (Dallas Mavericks, RFA)

·       Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks, PO)

·       D’Angelo Russell (Brooklyn Nets, RFA)

Which teams have the most cap space?

·       New York Knicks: $72.9 million

·       Los Angeles Clippers: $59.7 million

·       Brooklyn Nets: $54.6 million

·       Dallas Mavericks: $52.2 million

·       Atlanta Hawks: $50.6 million