NBA free agents 2021: Top players available, start date for free agency, salary cap


Basketball The 2020-21 NBA season is complete, and that means free agency is right around the corner.After signing with the Clippers just two years ago, Kawhi Leonard could once again become an unrestricted free agent and send NBA Twitter into a frenzy. He has a player option for the 2021-22 season, but he could decline that option in order to sign a new contract. The most likely scenario is Leonard reaching some sort of agreement with Los Angeles as he continues to recover from an ACL injury he suffered during the 2021 playoffs, though no one truly knows what he will do. Beyond Leonard, this year's class of free agents is filled with talented point guards who should earn big paydays, including Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley. There are a few general managers with cap space that will be trying to pry those guys away from their current teams and elevate their franchises.And don't forget that trade rumors will be lingering in the background. Will the 76ers move Ben Simmons? Will Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard request a trade? As Kevin Garnett once said, "Anything is possible." Here's everything you need to know ahead of NBA free agency, including the top available players and teams with the most cap space.NBA DRAFT: SN's latest mock draft | Top 60 big boardWhen does NBA free agency start?NBA free agency will kick off on Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. ET. Teams can begin negotiating with free agents at that time, though the reality is many of those conversations have already happened.Most contracts can't officially be signed until Aug. 6 at 12:01 p.m. ET. However, many players will agree to the terms of a contract verbally before putting pen to paper.Key dates for the 2021-22 NBA season ⬇️— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) July 27, 2021NBA free agency 2021: Player rankingsFree agentCurrent teamContract status1. Kawhi LeonardClippersPlayer option2. Chris PaulSunsPlayer option3. Kyle LowryRaptorsUnrestricted4. John CollinsHawksRestricted5. Mike ConleyJazzUnrestricted6. DeMar DeRozanSpursUnrestricted7. Lonzo BallPelicansRestricted8. Jarrett AllenCavaliersRestricted9. Dennis SchroderLakersUnrestricted10. Duncan RobinsonHeatRestrictedNBA free agency 2021: Teams with most projected cap spaceThe salary cap for the 2021-22 season is expected to jump up by only three percent, which would put the cap at approximately $112.4 million. If that number holds, the luxury tax would be around $136.6 million.There are pathways to creating significant cap space for a few teams this offseason, but keep in mind they would have to let their own free agents walk in order to maximize flexibility.(Estimates courtesy of ESPN's Bobby Marks)TeamPossible cap space1. Spurs$50 million2. Knicks$47 million3. Pelicans$36 million4. Thunder$36 million5. Bulls$32 million6. Heat$21.5 million7. Hornets$20.5 million8. Mavericks$19 millionNBA free agency 2021: Latest news, rumors, updates— How Grizzlies-Pelicans deal could impact Kyle Lowry's free agency— Mavericks viewed as biggest threat to steal Kawhi Leonard from Clippers— Spencer Dinwiddie declines player option, "unlikely" to re-sign with Nets

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