When does NBA free agency start: Dates, times, best available for 2021

Detroit Free Press

Here’s 2021 NBA free agency start date, time, best players available and which teams have the most cap space. We also have a section on the Detroit Pistons‘ outlook.

Free agency negotiations begin Monday, August 2 at 6 p.m. ET. Signings can become official Friday, August 6 at 12:01 p.m. ET, when the new league year opens.

NBA salary cap projection for 2021-22: The cap is expected to be $112.4 million, an increase of over $3 million from last season. The luxury tax threshold will be around $136.6 million.

Best unrestricted free agents on the market: DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley Jr., Spencer Dinwiddie, Tim Hardaway Jr., Norman Powell, Reggie Jackson, Dennis Schroder, Evan Fournier, Will Barton, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Victor Oladipo, Patty Mills, Danny Green, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond.

Why did Pistons pick Cade Cunningham? A great player and ‘human connector’ ]

Player option (deadline is Sunday): Chris Paul (Phoenix; $44 million), Kawhi Leonard (L.A. Clippers; $36 million).

Team option (deadline is Sunday): Goran Dragic (Miami; $19 million).

Best restricted free agents: Lonzo Ball (New Orleans), John Collins (Atlanta), Jarrett Allen (Cleveland), Gary Trent Jr. (Toronto), Duncan Robinson (Miami), Lauri Markkanen (Chicago), Josh Hart (New Orleans), Devonte’ Graham (Charlotte), Malik Monk (Charlotte), Kendrick Nunn (Miami), Hamidou Diallo (Detroit), Bruce Brown Jr. (Brooklyn).

Teams with most cap space: New York, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Miami, Toronto, Memphis.

Pistons’ standing

Pistons cap situation: They have a little room after trading Mason Plumlee, due $8.1 million this season, to Charlotte on Thursday. Once they reach the cap, they will also have the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($9.5 million starting salary, up to four years; can be split among multiple players) and bi-annual exception ($3.7 million starting salary, up to two years).

ANALYSIS: Pistons free agency FAQ: Navigating cap space, roster crunch

Pistons 15-man roster depth chart projection (guaranteed contracts only): 

Guard: Cade Cunningham (rookie), Killian Hayes

Wing: Jerami Grant, Saddiq Bey, Josh Jackson, Sekou Doumbouya, Deividas Sirvydis, Isaiah Livers (rookie)

Center: Isaiah Stewart, Jahlil Okafor, Luka Garza (rookie)

Two-way (two spots): G Chris Smith

Pistons free agents: Wayne Ellington (unrestricted); Diallo, Saben Lee, Frank Jackson, Dennis Smith Jr. (all restricted).

STAY OR GO: Predicting how Pistons will handle their free agents

Pistons team options: Cory Joseph ($2.4 million guaranteed of $12.6 million), Rodney McGruder ($5 million non-guaranteed); Tyler Cook ($1.7 million non-guaranteed).

Pistons 2022 expiring contracts: Blake Griffin ($29.8 million from buyout), Jackson ($5 million), Okafor ($2.1 million).

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