FREE AGENCY EXPLAINED
The NBA free agency period for the 2013-14 season begins July 1 at 9:01 p.m. PT, which means teams and players can start the negotiating process. However, no signings can be made official until July 10.
The period of time from July 1-10 is called the July Moratorium. While most free agents cannot be signed and trades are disallowed, there are some maneuvers that are permissible.
The signing of first round picks, second round picks accepting a required tender, restricted free agents agreeing to a qualifying offer, and veterans coming to term on one or two year minimum salary deals are a few examples of movement that can occur during the moratorium.
To help further understand some of the basic terminology when it comes to the summer free agency period, here are some terms that are frequently used:
Unrestricted free agent
An unrestricted free agent (UFA) is free to sign with any team, though some unrestricted free agents have options on their existing contracts that, if exercised, may impact their choices.
A team option grants the original team the right to keep a player for another year.
A player option grants the player the power to decide whether to stay for another year or become a completely unrestricted free agent.
(In either case, if the option is refused, the player is completely unrestricted, free to sign with any team.)
Early Termination Option
An early termination option gives the player the right to end a signed contract. The option cannot be exercised before the end of the fourth year of an existing contract. If the player declines to exercise the option, he remains with the original team. If the option is exercised, he is free to sign with any team.
Restricted free agent
A restricted free agent can sign an offer sheet with any team, but the player's original team can retain him by matching the terms of that offer. The original team is said to have the "right of first refusal."
Keep track of all 30 teams during free agency with NBA.com’s Free Agent Tracker: http://www.nba.com/freeagents/2013/
Legend for Free Agent Tracker:
UFA = Unrestricted free agent
RFA = Restricted free agent
* Player option
** Team option
*** Early termination option