The actual games aren’t scheduled to begin until Dec. 22, but the action will commence in the NBA very soon.
The league’s trade moratorium will end Monday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported. The NBA draft is Wednesday night and free agent negotiations are officially allowed beginning Friday at 6 p.m. Training camps are set to start on Dec. 1 and, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the NBA is targeting Dec. 11-19 for preseason play.
From Wojnarowski, here’s a look at the tentative schedule for the season itself:
Though the league’s 2020-21 season salary cap and luxury tax figures are staying flat at $109.140 million and $132.627 million, respectively, ESPN reports a projected incremental rise over the next few years.
Those projections appear ambitious at the moment as the league attempts to play a 72-game season in home markets during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s unknown how many fans will be able to safely attend games this season, and in which markets. The league is planning to have fans in some arenas to begin the season required to follow certain precautions. Accounting for COVID-19 outside of a "bubble" environment is a major challenge.
While the luxury tax threshold remaining at its 2019-20 level isn’t good news for the Sixers on the surface, teams' tax bills will be reduced in proportion to how much the league’s basketball-related income decreases (see story). The Sixers, along with the Warriors, Celtics and Nets, are set to pay the luxury tax because of expensive commitments to Al Horford, Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. This means the taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum salary contracts will be their two main tools in free agency.
President of basketball operations Daryl Morey has a lot of important decisions coming in his first offseason with the Sixers, though he indicated at his introductory press conference that he might not radically reconstruct the roster just yet.
“One thing I think where organizations make a mistake is they try to make sure the roster is perfect on Game 1,” he said. “The players who are going to thrive under (head coach Doc Rivers) and how Doc utilizes them is going to teach (general manager Elton Brand) and I a lot about how to best fit the players around them. So if there’s a great opportunity, obviously we’re going to do it early.
“We’ve got some important windows coming up with the draft and free agency, and also a trade window in there before whenever we play our first game. The thing is you want to do great moves when they’re available, but often the best move is not a move that’s not right around. We want to increase our understanding before we start to make these moves.”