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NBA Teams With Open Roster Spots

NBA teams are permitted to carry 15 players into the regular season, so now that opening night rosters are set, as many as 450 players could be under contract around the league. Instead, only 439 players are currently on NBA rosters, leaving 11 openings spread out among nine clubs. With the help of our roster count tool, here are the teams bringing open roster spots into the regular season:

Two openings:

  • Chicago Bulls
  • Memphis Grizzlies

One opening:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Phoenix Suns
  • San Antonio Spurs

Teams carrying a full 15-man roster know that not all 15 players will see regular minutes in NBA games this season. Still, keeping an extra prospect or two under control, perhaps assigning them to the D-League to get them frequent playing time, could pay off in the long run, and has little downside. Many end-of-bench players are still on non-guaranteed contracts, so they don’t adversely affect a team’s roster flexibility, since they can be easily cut if the team wants to make a trade or signing.

The only real downside of carrying 15 players is having to pay 15 players. That’s why we shouldn’t be surprised to see that many of the teams listed above are either taxpayers or clubs hovering dangerously close to tax territory. For teams like the Bulls and Clippers, who are more focused on title contention than player development, carrying a 15th man all season isn’t worth the extra tax penalties. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies, Celtics, Thunder, and Pacers all have $68MM+ in guaranteed team salary on their books, so paying a 15th player would reduce cap flexibility for those clubs, who are looking to steer clear of the $71.748MM tax line.

We’ll be keeping our list of roster counts up to date throughout the 2013/14 season, so if you’re curious about whether or not a team has room to add a free agent or make an unbalanced trade, keep an eye on that page.

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