Hoops Rumors Glossary: ​​July Moratorium



NBA free agents begin to retire from the board in quick succession as soon as the trading period opens June 30 at 6:00 p.m. EST. However, most of these agreements cannot become official right away, due to what the league’s collective bargaining agreement calls the “moratorium period”. We know him colloquially as the July moratorium.

The July moratorium — which lasts from 12:01 a.m. Eastern time on July 1 until 12 a.m. on July 6 — essentially freezes most transactions for several days at the start of the league’s new year. NBA free agents are allowed to negotiate with clubs during the moratorium, and they can agree the terms of new contracts, but they cannot officially sign new deals until the moratorium ends. The same goes for trades – two teams can agree on the terms of a deal, but can’t formally conclude it until at least July 6.

While nearly all of the deals made during the July moratorium are eventually finalized, the unofficial nature of those initial deals can sometimes wreak havoc on the league’s free agent market.

DeAndre Jordan2015’s free agency isn’t the only example, but it’s certainly the most memorable of the past decade. Jordan first agreed to the terms with the Mavericks during the July moratorium, but before the moratorium ends and the two parties can make it official, the Mowers changed Jordan’s mind and convinced him to re-sign with LA

Because Jordan and the Mavs had only come to an informal verbal agreement, there was nothing Dallas could do to prevent him from backtracking during the moratorium. Yet this kind of about-face is rare, as it can lead to fractured relationships between players, agents and teams.

Although most NBA transactions cannot be completed during the moratorium, there are a few exceptions to this rule. The following movements are permitted between July 1 and July 6:

  • A team can sign a first-round pick in their rookie contract.
  • A team can sign a player on a minimum salary contract of one or two years.
  • A restricted free agent can sign a qualifying offer from their current team.
  • A restricted free agent can sign a five-year guaranteed maximum salary contract with their current team.
  • A restricted free agent can sign an offer sheet with a new team; the 48-hour matching period would begin once the moratorium ends.
  • A team can sign a two-way deal with a player, convert a two-way deal to a standard NBA deal, or convert a 10-piece deal to a two-way deal.
  • A team may waive a player or claim a player for waiver.
  • A second-round pick can accept a required offer (a one-year contract offer) from his current team.

Under the old collective bargaining agreement, the NBA finalized the salary cap at some point during the July moratorium, and the new cap would go into effect once the moratorium ended. However, the current ABC is calling for the salary cap for the league’s new year to be set before the start of July, with the new figure taking effect immediately on July 1. This gives teams more clarity on the exact amount of space they have as they negotiate with free agents during the moratorium.

In recent years, the NBA has advanced the start of its free agency trading period by six hours, opening that window at 6:00 p.m. ET on June 30 instead of 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1. While the July moratorium doesn’t technically begin until July 1, free agents who close deals quickly can’t officially sign on June 30 because their old contracts haven’t technically expired yet.

However, if a veteran eligible for an extension accepts a new agreement with his former team, he box officially complete this extension on the evening of June 30, before the entry into force of the moratorium – Young Thaddeus (raptors) and Gary Harris (Magic) took that route this year, officially finalizing their new contracts last Thursday before the start of the moratorium period.

Finally, it’s worth noting that even though we call this period at the start of free agency the “July” moratorium, it doesn’t always happen in July. In recent years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the moratorium period has instead occurred in November (2020) and August (2021).


Note: This is a Hoops Rumors glossary entry. Our glossary articles will explain specific rules relating to trades, free will, or other aspects of the NBA collective bargaining agreement. by Larry Coon Salary cap FAQ was used in the creation of this post. Earlier versions of this article were published in previous years.