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Start date for free agency, salary cap established for 2020-21 NBA season

NBA free agency will begin on Nov. 20 at 6 p.m ET and signings will begin taking place on Nov. 22 (noon ET), giving all 30 teams just over a month to finalize their roster before the season opener on Dec. 22. The free agency period will begin two days after the NBA draft.

Beyond agreeing to those proposed dates on Monday night, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association agreed that salary reductions will be spread across this upcoming season and potentially the following two years to account for the $1.5 billion the league lost in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The maximum salary reduction in any season will be at 20%. The $1.5 billion reduction in revenue stems from losses in gate revenue ($800 million), sponsorships ($400 million) and the fallout with China after former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for the Hong Kong protestors during the preseason ($200 million).

NBA free agency is set to begin two days after the draft. (Photo: Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)

Because of the depleted revenue, the NBA finalized the 2020-21 season’s salary cap at $109.140 million and the luxury tax threshold at $132.627 million. The NBA added in a statement that both the salary cap and tax level will increase in subsequent seasons by at least 3% and at most 10% from the previous seasons. It added that teams’ tax payments will be reduced in proportion to any decrease in basketball-related income (BRI).

Before the NBA suspended the season in March because of COVID-19, USA TODAY Sports reported that the cap projection would be at $115 million and the luxury tax threshold would be at $139 million.

Follow USA TODAY NBA writer Mark Medina on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

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