Most offseason signees became eligible for inclusion in trades Monday, meaning the vast majority of NBA players are subject to a trade between now and the February 19th trade deadline. Only a small fraction of those players will actually end up in deals, in part because teams have no motivation to trade certain players and in part because their teams won’t be able to find suitable exchanges. There are also trade restrictions on several players that don’t necessarily preclude their teams from making a swap but make it more difficult to pull one off.
A handful of players have no-trade clauses written into their contracts, and many more have de facto no-trade clauses because they re-signed with their teams on a one-year deal or a two-year deal that includes an option, or because they signed an offer sheet that their original team matched. Those players are difficult to trade, but it’s not impossible. Kevin Garnett waived his no-trade clause to approve the deal that sent him from the Celtics to the Nets in 2013, and Aaron Brooks gave his OK to a trade that sent him from the Rockets to the Nuggets at last season’s deadline in spite of a de facto no-trade clause. Yet there’s simply no way to work around the restriction on players who sign within three months of the trade deadline or sign certain kinds of veteran extensions within six months of it.
Seven of the 10 players who are off-limits for trades during the 2014/15 regular season signed after November 19th, the point at which the trade deadline was three months away. Teams can’t trade players at any point during the season within three months of having signed them. So, even if the Sixers wanted to include Furkan Aldemir, who signed Monday, in a trade, they couldn’t until after the regular season. The same is true for the Nets and Darius Morris, who signed with Brooklyn last week. If the Nets make the playoffs and Morris is on Brooklyn’s roster for the postseason, the team couldn’t trade him until after it’s eliminated.
The Lakers can’t move Carlos Boozer at any point this season because they claimed him off amnesty waivers. Any time a team claims a player through that process, that team can’t deal him until the following July 1st.
The rule that prevents the Cavs from trading Anderson Varejao and the Kings from dealing Rudy Gay at any point this season rarely comes into play. They’re only the fifth and sixth players, respectively, to have signed veteran extensions under the existing collective bargaining agreement. Both signed extensions that tacked three seasons onto their existing contracts and involve raises of greater than 4.5%, which means those extensions couldn’t have been part of extend-and-trade transactions. Even though the extend-and-trade is largely a vestige of old CBAs, it lives on through Varejao and Gay. That’s because anytime a team signs a player to an extension that doesn’t fit the restrictions called for under an extend-and-trade, the team can’t trade him for six months. Varejao signed his extension in October, and Gay put pen to paper in November, so they can’t be traded until the spring. Tony Parker and Zach Randolph also signed extensions in recent months that would have run afoul of extend-and-trade rules, but the six-month trade restrictions on both will expire before the trade deadline.
Here’s a list of every player who can’t be traded at any point during the regular season this year:
- Jeff Adrien, Timberwolves
- Furkan Aldemir, Sixers
- Carlos Boozer, Lakers
- Patrick Christopher, Jazz
- Dante Cunningham, Pelicans
- Rudy Gay, Kings
- Gal Mekel, Pelicans
- Darius Morris, Nets
- Anderson Varejao, Cavaliers
- Hassan Whiteside, Heat
Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ was used in the creation of this post.