The league’s offseason feeding frenzy will now officially begin six hours earlier than in previous years.
The NBA free agency period will now begin at a more reasonable hour.
The league and its players’ association made official Friday a previously reported decision to move the start of free agency up to 6 p.m. ET on June 30 from the previous start time of 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1.
As part of the change, teams will now be allowed to contact free agents or their representatives beginning at 6 p.m. ET on June 29, but those discussions are to be “solely for the purpose of scheduling a meeting” to occur after the official start of free agency. Teams cannot officially sign players to contracts until noon ET on July 6, with limited exceptions.
Commissioner Adam Silver said during a news conference last summer that he had heard from teams and media members alike about moving the start time to a slot that would generate more coverage and allow for more sleep.
“I’ve not only heard from my friends in the media, but as I get older and the people I grew up [with] in the NBA get older, I think we’re all tired of all-nighters. I also heard from several teams, ‘Does this really have to be at midnight?’ I think that’s something we need to find agreement on with the players’ association, but I think we can change it for next year.”
While the start of the free agency period is always the highlight of the NBA offseason, this year’s edition should be particularly intriguing with numerous high-profile players potentially on the move.
Speculation about Kevin Durant’s future has swirled for months, and he’s merely the top name on a list that includes Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler and other established stars.