So What Now? Looking Ahead to the NBA’s Offseason

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With the dust finally settling on what was a wild and unprecedented 2019-20 NBA season, it’s time to look ahead to what will certainly be a very strange 2020 offseason.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about what’s to come in the next few months including an official start date for next season, but there is a rough roadmap for what to expect.

1. Figuring out the Cap

The first and most pressing issue on the NBA’s agenda is figuring out the salary cap for next season. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cap was expected to rise to $115 million, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, an increase of about $6 million. Now, the cap is expected to be around $109 million next season, according to The Athletic’s John Hollinger, the same as it was in 2019-20.

Until the cap is set in stone, it’s going to be very difficult for teams to really start planning, as Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri noted in his year-end press conference.

“There are challenges, we don’t know what the cap numbers are, we have to figure out how we maneuver where we keep our cap space for the future and for that year, ’21,” he said.

2. Player/Team Options

After that, the league will have to adjust player and team options to fit with the new schedule. This will certainly happen before the NBA Draft, likely at some point in early to mid-November.

For the Raptors, this won’t be a big issue. Stanley Johnson is the only player with an option for next season, a $3.8 million player option that he will almost certainly accept. Considering the way the cap is expected to look this offseason, I’d expect most players with player options to opt-in to the extra year, hoping to reset their market in 2021.

3. NBA Draft

The NBA Draft is one of the few things we have certainty around this offseason. It is scheduled for November 18.

For the first time since 2017, the Raptors will have a first round pick, the 29th pick overall, to go with a second round pick, No. 59.

4. Free Agency

The start of free agency still remains unclear right now. The league’s stated aim is to start free agency on December 1, according to Hollinger, but that could be changed by a few days.

Toronto has Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson all heading into unrestricted free agency, with Chris Boucher, Oshae Brissett, and Malcolm Miller entering restricted free agency.

5. 2021 NBA Season

Once free agency is settled, it’ll be on to the 2020-21 season, which is likely to start in January 2021, according to NBA commissioner Adam Silver.