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NBA Free Agency 2021: Team negotiations can begin on August 2

Teams will be ready to begin negotiations in early August, about one month after their traditional start time in July, partially due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards
Davis Bertans signed a long-term contract with the Wizards last year.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

On Monday, the NBA announced that teams can begin negotiations with free agents as early as Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. ET and announce signings as early as 12:01 p.m. ET on Aug. 6. The timetable is not unexpected, since the free agency period generally begins a few days after the draft which will be on July 29.

The Washington Wizards will have about $120.3 million in committed salary next season, which is above next season’s projected soft salary cap of $115.7 million but below the luxury tax threshold of $136.6 million. Therefore, we shouldn’t expect Washington to be a major player in the free agency market. That said, if the Wizards go “all-in,” which Marcus Atkinson wrote that they should do given their current situation earlier today, it’s possible that they could be more active on the trade market.

This year’s draft and free agency period will come at an interesting time. The 2020 Olympics are being held a year late due to the pandemic, so the games will be held from July 23 to Aug. 8 this year. Some players on the 12 teams in the tournament (which have still yet to be decided in men’s basketball) may be focused on getting their country to the Gold Medal (to be honest, I don’t think the USA will win Gold this year, in men’s basketball at least) than negotiating a contract. So contract news may be at an impasse for some time while the Olympics are going on.

This summer will be a very interesting time for the NBA at large, even if the Wizards and their stars aren’t likely going to be major figures in the Olympics, Rui Hachimura aside.