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NBA moving up start of annual moratorium

Adam Silver

So much for staying awake through all hours of the night to keep your pulse on the NBA’s earliest free agency decisions in real time. According to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, the league is moving up the start of its moratorium period from midnight on July 1st to to 6:00 p.m. on June 30th, allowing teams and player to begin discussing contracts at a more opportune time for all parties involved.

Given the annually increasing interest in the league’s player-movement period, this change has long seemed inevitable. Expect ESPN and NBA TV to hold free-agent specials on June 30th, breaking down the earliest agreed upon deals live on the air when they’re first reported. Twitter will be a far bigger frenzy than it’s been when the moratorium has opened in the past, too.

There hasn’t been any indication that the league will also be moving up the end of the moratorium, when players are actually allowed to put pen to paper rather than simply agree to contracts in principle. It’s still slated for July 6th at 11:00 a.m.

This also ends a longstanding tradition of front office personnel meeting their team’s most prized free agent targets at clandestine locations late at night. LeBron James and Magic Johnson, for instance, famously held a meeting at 9:01 p.m. pacific time at the former’s Brentwood home that convinced him to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Who will the likes of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving be courted by on the opening day of free agency? That remains to be seen, but the masses will now be able to find out a full half day sooner than normal.