It is a quick turnaround from the NBA playoffs to the offseason. The 2024 NBA champion Boston Celtics have barely had any time to celebrate their record-breaking 18th title, and yet they already have to move on to tinkering their roster for next season while they join the offseason madness. The NBA Draft is on June 26, and although free agency hasn't officially started, some big deals have already been made, and some even bigger rumors have already been announced.

Free agency is one of the most entertaining times of the year on the NBA's calendar, especially in this era of basketball. Player empowerment has been the trend in recent years, so players leaving their teams and joining new squads, whether it be for financial reasons or not, has become the norm, even so for superstars.

Adding the missing pieces through free agency can be the step that turns a team into a champion. This year, there are going to be plenty of high-quality players set to hit the open market.

Even LeBron James, one of the best basketball players ever, will become a free agent if he declines the player option on his contract for next season. James has been widely rumored to want to play for whatever team gives his son Bronny James – a 2024 NBA Draft prospect – a chance at the professional level.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about NBA free agency, from the early negotiation period, to the moratorium period, and finally to when players can officially sign deals.

Key NBA offseason dates

Monday, June 18: Early negotiation period

The early negotiation period is already underway, thanks to a new free agency rule. This was the first year where teams could negotiate contracts with their own upcoming free agents the day after the NBA Finals were completed. After Boston won the championship, teams got to work negotiating with their own free agents.

This new rule, which took effect on June 18, gives teams an exclusive negotiating window and allows them a better chance of retaining their own homegrown talent. Pascal Siakam and Malik Monk already agreed to massive deals to return to their teams, the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings, respectively.

Saturday, June 29: Options and qualifying offers

Although the deadline for some players contract options will be earlier than this, June 29 marks the last day for teams/players to make decisions on team and player contract options. It is also the last day for early termination options as well as the last day for teams to make qualifying offers to players headed to restricted free agency.

Sunday, June 30: Negotiation period

June 30 at 6 p.m. ET opens up free agency for all players. The new league year officially begins on July 1, and with it comes the moratorium period, a time in which players can begin to negotiate deals with new teams without putting pen to paper. Players can agree in principle to contracts, but they can't officially sign deals.

Saturday, July 6: Moratorium period ends

The moratorium period ends at 12:01 p.m. ET on July 6, and players are allowed to officially make their deals official. This goes for both external free agent signings and players who agreed to contract extensions. Any trades that were made during the moratorium period also become finalized.

Free agency storylines

LeBron James at Bronny James workout predraft 2024
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of the most stacked free agent classes in recent memory, and NBA fans have anticipated it for a long time. Of course, that is mainly due to LeBron James' status as a potential impending free agent.

Any time James hits the open market, it is massive news. This was illustrated by “The Decision” that led to him signing with the Miami Heat in 2010, as well as his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second time to join the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. Both of those offseasons/decisions were two of the biggest in league history.

What James will do this offseason is still up in the air. All signs point towards LeBron joining whichever team drafts Bronny, but Rich Paul has claimed that isn't for sure going to be the case. If James were to join a new team, it would be the fourth team of his career and the fifth different tenure of his career, both of which are unprecedented for a star of his level.

James isn't the only star headed for free agency, though. We actually ranked Tyrese Maxey as the best 2024 free agent.

He is a restricted free agent, which means it is unlikely he won't be playing for the Philadelphia 76ers next year. But Maxey's youth and long-term potential earn him the title of best free agent this year, even over someone with as complete of a resume as James. Of course, James' career is coming to a close, whereas Maxey still has plenty of good years ahead of him and should only continue to improve.

Maxey leads a stacked free agent class at the point guard position. Along with Maxey, future Hall of Famers and current Clippers stars, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, both have a chance to hit the open market. The former player is an unrestricted free agent and is coming off of one of many hectic offseasons of his career, while the latter has a player option for next year. Paul George is the Clippers other star with a player option that leaves the Clippers vulnerable to losing some of their best talent in free agency.

In addition to all of the biggest stars in Los Angeles, other big-name free agents include OG Anunoby, Klay Thompson, Miles Bridges, Tobias Harris, and DeMar DeRozan. The Knicks gave up a huge haul to trade for Anunoby at the trade deadline, so they will surely want to bring him back, but his return to New York is not a foregone conclusion.

Thompson has had an iconic career that has been played in its entirety with the Golden State Warriors. It would be weird to see him leave the team that he has won four championships with, but the Warriors have been capped financially for years, and they may get outbid by another team for the incredible three-point shooter's services.

Bridges is a talented player, but he has had some disturbing off-the-court incidents that may prevent teams from giving him a chance. Harris is still a solid player, but he is coming off of a contract where he was considered one of the most overpaid athletes in the sport. DeRozan is a star in his own right, too, but the Bulls may let him walk in free agency, considering their recent trade signaled a franchise rebuild. All in all, this year's free agent crop is filled with big names and massive storylines.

There are a lot of questions that will be answered during NBA free agency this year. Of course, the biggest question is where LeBron James play in 2024-25. We won't know that answer for sure until the moratorium period is over (or later), but we will have a better feel for James' future after the 2024 NBA Draft.