Since the NBA has managed to avoid any significant health and safety setbacks inside the Walt Disney World bubble, the league has begun to shift their focus to other areas directly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
They have already announced plans to allow non-bubble teams to hold voluntary group workouts at their respective facilities. The goal is to establish a second campus-like environment for the remaining eight teams to workout and scrimmage from Sept. 14 to Oct. 6.
There is also the issue of establishing a firm timeline for the offseason once the truncated seasons come to a close. Unfortunately, nothing has been set in stone due to all the uncertainty regarding the looming, financial repercussions of the ongoing pandemic.
The NBA initially intended to begin free agency at some point in mid-October. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, they now plan to push it back with the hope that they will have a better idea of the 2020-21 salary cap:
In team meetings and conversations at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the National Basketball Players Association has been preparing its membership for the likelihood that the start of free agency in mid-October could be pushed back several weeks, sources told ESPN. Because of the uncertainty about next season’s projected league revenues, a delay to the Oct. 18 start of free agency would give the NBA and NBPA a chance to better formulate the parameters of the 2020-21 salary cap and luxury tax thresholds.
The likely delay stems from front office executives being worried about the significant impact the lack of information will have on the decision-making process:
Front-office executives are privately concerned about the lack of salary cap and luxury tax projections in place before the Oct. 16 draft. Those projections would allow them to make crucial decisions — including on possible trades — with a clearer understanding of the financial ramifications.
Although the NBA is on track to successfully finishing out the 2019-20 season, it had been deemed a foregone conclusion that the league would be taking a significant financial hit since commissioner Adam Silver revealed that the money made from game nights account for 40% of league revenues.
This is clearly set to offer up its own set of challenges for teams and players trying to negotiate any potential lucrative contracts. The delay to free agency has also led to some speculation regarding whether or not the 2020 NBA Draft that is also scheduled in mid-October could be pushed back along with it.
Lakers free agency outlook
The Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams that find themselves in a precarious position given the number of key players on their roster that could be looking to test the market.
Anthony Davis will undoubtedly be the focal point of their efforts this offseason while it remains to be seen which of those who have player options (Avery Bradley, Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) or become unrestricted free agents ( Dion Waiters, Dwight Howard, Jared Dudley) will remain with the team.
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