With the NBA Finals and Draft in the rearview mirror, the last major event from this condensed 2020-21 NBA calendar is finally upon us. On Monday at 6 p.m. ET, teams will be able to negotiate contracts with free agents. That’s when you’ll start reading and hearing about the deals being agreed to, but those deals cannot become official until the moratorium ends at 12:01 a.m. ET on Aug. 6.
With that in mind, let’s get to the information you need to get ready for a busy week.
45 key players
Our James Herbert broke down the 45 key players that will be available come Monday at 6 p.m. ET either as restricted (current team can match any offer) or unrestricted free agents.
Herbert broke his list down into All-Star caliber creators (such as Kyle Lowry, Chris Paul), intriguing restricted free agents (John Collins, Lonzo Ball), unrestricted free agents (Tim Hardaway Jr., Dennis Schroder, Norman Powell), and veteran guards (Derrick Rose, Lou Williams, T.J. McConnell), wings (Evan Fournier, Andre Iguodala) and bigs (Blake Griffin, Bobby Portis, Zach Collins).
Storylines to watch
- The point guards: Headlined by Paul, who declined his $44.1 million player option, and Lowry, who is increasingly linked to the Miami Heat), and how the trickle down of Russell Westbrook being traded to the Lakers could shake out.
- Who will be the best non-point guard to sign with a new team? John Collins? Duncan Robinson? DeMar DeRozan?
- What are the Knicks up to? They have more than $50 million in space
- Who else could make a splash? The Mavericks, for one, can get to around $30 million in cap space
- Which contenders can improve most? This will mostly come down to who makes the most of minimum deals and exceptions.
- What will Kawhi Leonard do after declining his $36 million player option? The calculus has changed with Leonard’s partially town ACL, which could keep him out most or all of next season. Leonard clearly wants the security of a new long-term deal, likely at a maximum number, with an unknown injury situation. Will it be the Clippers that give it to him?