NBA

When Does NBA Free Agency Start in 2024?

Explore critical dates and anticipated player movements in the 2024 offseason in our guide.

December 22, 2023

The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are definitely not that for NBA teams trying to retool and rebuild their rosters into title contenders, and for players trying to land massive contracts. Free agency, which begins on the final day of June, is an opportunity for teams to add valuable – albeit high-priced – talent that might be the final piece of the puzzle to compete for a championship. It’s also an opportunity for the players themselves to move to a contender and/or away from a hopeless situation — or to land a higher salary from their current team.

Key Dates to Mark on Your Calendar

The Free Agency Moratorium is a negotiation period from July 1-6 in which teams may not sign most free agents or make trades. Starting at 6 p.m. ET on June 30, teams may negotiate deals with free agents. However, those players cannot officially sign until 12:01 p.m. ET on July 6.

Anticipated Player Movements

Typically, when the average NBA fan refers to “free agency,” they are talking about unrestricted free agents, who are free to sign with whichever team they want, including their current teams. There are also restricted free agents, who can, through their player option, decide to put themselves on the open market and not restrict themselves to staying with their current team.

Many other RFAs can sign an offer sheet with any team, but the player’s original team can retain him by matching the terms of that offer. The original team is said to have the “right of first refusal,” according to NBA.com.

NBA free agency overall is fairly complex business process, and if you are truly interested in all the ins and out of it, here is a full description from NBA.com.

The Top Free Agents in 2024

The top free agents available in summer 2024 run the gamut from Hall of Famers to up-and-coming stars:

Kawhi Leonard, Clippers

“The Claw” has won titles with the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors, but his main issue is durability. He hasn’t played more than 60 games in a season since the 2016-17 campaign, but he’s deadly from midrange, can hit the three, plays solid defense and his linebacker build enables him to operate in the paint effectively. He’s averaged 23.8 ppg or more in his last five seasons.

LeBron James, Lakers

The prevailing theory is that “The King” will wait to see who drafts his son Bronny next year, and then will try to play with him for what could be his farewell season. LBJ – and Tom Brady before him – have proven you can play a pro sport for two decades at an elite level by investing a lot of time (and money) to take care of your body. Now in his 21st season, King James has won titles with three different teams – Cavaliers, Heat, Lakers – and has never averaged less than 25 ppg except for his rookie season.

Jrue Holiday, Celtics

The versatile guard is 33 but has always been a solid defender and has a 16.3 scoring average in his career. He’s on his fourth team and helped lead the Milwaukee Bucks to the title three seasons ago.

James Harden, Clippers

Now with his fifth team, Harden is third all-time in three-point field goals but is still looking for his first NBA championship. This season, he’s averaging half his scoring output from his league-leading peak of five years ago (36.1) and he’s lost a step from his explosive moves to the hoop. Never a defensive stalwart, Harden is basically now just a stepback shooter but also a precision passer – he’s averaged more than 10 assists per game for each team he’s been on the past few years.

Klay Thompson, Warriors

Steph Curry’s fellow Splash Brother could possibly leave the Warriors, with whom he won four titles after this season. It’s highly unlikely Golden State will give him the max deal he wants considering his age – he’ll be 34 in February – and diminished three-point accuracy and defensive skills. He’s ninth all-time in three-pointers.

Paul George, Clippers

PG-13 as averaged nearly 21 ppg in his career and adds 6.4 rpg, but the 33-year-old has been known to disappear in the playoffs – he’s shot under 40 percent in four different playoff appearances during his career.

Tyrese Maxey, 76ers

The 23-year-old shooting guard is probably the best free agent available in 2024. Already in his fourth season, Maxey is averaging nearly 26 points and 6.7 assists per game, and knocks down 3 threes per game. His quickness and athleticism make him very difficult to defend.

Pascal Siakam, Raptors

One of the game’s best power forwards, Siakam has averaged over 20 ppg for five straight seasons and 6.5 rpg for his career. His career shot percentage is .489.

OG Anunoby, Raptors

Now in his seventh season, the London native is a strong defender on the wing and has averaged at least 15 ppg for four straight seasons.

Nic Claxton, Knicks

One of the best all-around youngsters in the league, Claxton has averaged more than two blocks per game for the past two seasons and adds more than 9 rpg and 12 ppg.

The Biggest Free Agent Signings in NBA History

Huge free agent signings literally can change the course of an NBA season even before it’s begun. Here are some of the biggest in NBA history:

Michael Jordan, Bulls, 1997

MJ returned to the Bulls for his final season, signing a $33.1 million contract, which remains the record for a one-year deal. The trio of Jordan, Pippen and Rodman later completed the franchise’s second three-peat for their and Jordan’s sixth NBA title.

LeBron James, Heat, 2010

LeBron took his talents to Miami, where he teamed with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to win two NBA titles and finish as runners-up in two other Finals. LBJ’s contract was for $109.8 million and six years and launched an era of superstars leaving loyalty behind and moving to other teams, often in an attempt to create “superteams” of three or more big stars.

Kevin Durant, Warriors, 2016

As if having Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green weren’t enough, the Golden State Warriors shocked the NBA world by grabbing Durant for $51.2 million for two years. Adding KD made the Warriors a nearly unstoppable team, and they went on dominate two straight NBA playoffs and walloped LeBron and the Cavs in two straight Finals.

Kobe Bryant, Lakers, 2004

The Lakers ended the feud between Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal by trading the Big Diesel to the Miami Heat and keeping Kobe with a contract worth $136.4 million over seven years. After missing the next playoffs and then being bounced out of the first round by the Suns two years in a row, the Lakers reached three straight Finals, defeating the Pacers and Celtics in two of them.

Shaquille O’Neal, Lakers, 1996

Shaq moved from the Orlando Magic for the lights of Hollywood on a seven-year, $120 million contract with the Lakers. Shaq and Kobe Bryant led LA to three straight NBA titles (2000-2002) and Shaq’s brand exploded thanks to his huge personality on and off the court in the spotlight of LA.

Moses Malone, 76ers, 1982

The “Chairman of the Boards” left the Houston Rockets after a season in which he averaged 31 ppg and a league-leading 14.7 rpg. He joined the 76ers and Julius Erving for $13.2 million and six years, a mammoth contract in its day. In their first season together, Malone and Dr. J led Philly to the title, sweeping the Lakers in the 1983 Finals. It’s the last Finals the Sixers have won. Malone averaged 15.3 rpg and 24.5 ppg in the 1982-83 season.

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  • Alex Valdes
    Alex Valdes is Web Content Manager at Tipico North America. He has written, edited and performed user and site analysis at MoneyTalksNews, NBC Sports, MSN, Bing, MSNBC, as well as newspapers and magazines.
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