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The NBA salary cap, luxury tax, and key offseason dates are set

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NBA Free Agency will begin on November 20th

2020 NBA Finals - Game Three Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It appears that the NBA offseason is back on track, and it’s happening in the blink of an eye.

The NBA released a statement late Monday night addressing key elements of the 2020 offseason leading into the 2020-21 season, including firm values on the salary cap, luxury tax, and official dates for free agency.

Officially, NBA teams will play a 72-game schedule beginning on December 22nd (the actual schedule should be released later in November). Prior to that, free agents will have an opportunity to negotiate deals with teams beginning on November 20th. With the salary cap set at $109.14 million and the luxury tax set at $132.63 million, NBA teams now have a clear financial picture for potential moves to make in free agency and trade scenarios.

While contending teams may have been expecting a higher luxury tax number, teams’ luxury tax payments will be reduced in proportion with whatever reduction in BRI (Basketball Related Income) is seen throughout the league. That means teams slated to make major luxury tax payments will be charged less money overall.

Harrison Wind of DNVR also summed up the critical dates clearly and concisely:


This is a major development for the NBA, and it paints the picture of a condensed offseason window with less financial flexibility overall for teams to conduct major overhauls of their rosters. For teams like the Denver Nuggets looking to make major upgrades to a Western Conference Finals team, it’s difficult to foresee major moves being made to improve the team unless the perfect opportunity is at their doorstep. Teams will assumably look to maintain status quo, but with the sheer number of transactions set to occur in the next three weeks, November is set to be a whirlwind.

Denver’s checklist heading into the NBA Draft and free agency is chalk full of things to do. They will complete due diligence on potential upgrades, evaluate and decide to retain or not retain their own free agents in Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap, Mason Plumlee, Torrey Craig, and others, and see if they can add a free agent using the mid-level or bi-annual exceptions.

I’m looking forward to the chaos.