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When does the 2022 NBA free agency start?

James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Bradley Beal are among the blockbuster names that will enter free agency when the market opens later this week.

James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Bradley Beal are among the blockbuster names that will enter free agency when the market opens later this week.
Brad MillsUSA TODAY Sports

The 2021-22 NBA season is in the books after the completion of the NBA Draft, just days after the Warriors beat the Celtics in Game 6 of the Finals. While the players will put basketball on the back burner for a while as they enjoy their offseason, executives around the league will have delay their vacation days until after free agency.

When the market opens

The NBA free agency period is like Christmas in July for many teams with cap space looking to ramp up their roster for the season to come. The first day of free agency will actually be the last day of June, as players and teams can begin negotiations as soon as 6:00 p.m. ET on Thursday. While both parties, player and team, may come to an agreement on a deal, they won’t be able to sign on the dotted line until July 6th, at 12:01 p.m. ET when the leagues moratorium comes to an end.

Who has room to make a splash

There is good new for some of the teams that struggled most last season as free agency lingers. The bottom three teams in the East, Orlando, Detroit and Indiana are among the teams that have the most cap space available this offseason. San Antonio and Portland have the most room to make a big splash in the market from the Western Conference. While Portland struggled mightily last season without Damian Lillard, the Spurs rallied to reach the Play-In Tournament before being knocked out by New Orleans in the first game.

Who is on the market

There is plenty of star power in this offseason’s free agent market. Of the five biggest names on the market, two are former MVPs and one just missed out on being crowned scoring champion two seasons ago,

James Harden joined Philadelphia in the middle of last season, and the three time scoring champion will now have a chance to stay with the Sixers or look for to ship out of Philly. If he were to move, it would be the fourth team he has played for in three seasons.

Russell Westbrook was brought to Los Angeles in hopes that LeBron, Carmelo and the rest of the Lakers could bring a title back to LaLa Land, but the larger than life project ended in disaster. Westbrook and the Lakers fans never saw eye to eye, and that might have an impact on his decision to stay or go.

Bradley Beal is just a season removed from a year where he averaged 31.3 points a game and just missed out on the scoring title. The Washington Wizard saw his numbers dip last season, but will still be a much sought after target in this year’s market.

All four of these guards on the free agent market have player options, meaning if they choose to do so they can sign on for another year, or enter the market as an unrestricted free-agent.

The other top target in the market is Zach Lavine. The two time All-Star has been with the Bulls since 2017 and will now enter free agency as an unrestricted free agent.

Kyrie Irving was on the verge of entering the market before he announced that he will be signing the $36.5 million player option to stay with the Nets for another year. Westbrook, Harden and Beal all have player options and have the chance to sign their’s before the market opens on Thursday.


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