Teams With 15 Or More Guaranteed Contracts

With most of the offseason's heavy lifting behind them, NBA teams are focusing on finalizing their camp rosters, adding players on non-guaranteed contracts to compete for the last spot or two on their benches. While clubs can carry up to 20 players during the preseason, that number must be reduced to between 13 and 15 by opening night.

For a team like the Hawks, October should be interesting, since the team currently only has 12 players whose salaries are fully guaranteed, with seven more players on partially guaranteed or non-guaranteed deals. Assuming Atlanta plans to carry 14 or 15 players, a player's performance in camp could be the difference between whether he's playing in the NBA and playing in Europe this season.

However, for several other teams, there will be little October drama, since some clubs will head into camp already carrying 15 or more players on guaranteed contracts. In those instances, a non-guaranteed camp invitee could play well enough to stick around for the regular season, but his team would have to trade or release a guaranteed contract to clear room. Waiving a player on a guaranteed deal would mean eating his salary and cap hit for at least the 2013/14 season.

Using our lists of roster counts and non-guaranteed deals for this season, let's take a look at the six teams already carrying at least 15 guaranteed contracts, along with what we can expect from them in the next few weeks:

Brooklyn Nets
Guaranteed contracts: 15
Camp invitees: 0

There's not a whole to watch here. The Nets will probably bring in two or three camp invitees in the hopes of sending them to the D-League's Springfield Armor, but the 15-man roster looks pretty set heading into the season.

Dallas Mavericks
Guaranteed contracts: 15
Camp invitees: 4 (Devin Ebanks, D.J. Kennedy, Mickey McConnell, Fab Melo)

The Mavericks' roster is fascinating at the moment, since three of their four camp invitees have previous NBA experience, and Ebanks and Melo seem like they should be on a roster this season. Nearly two-thirds of the team's 15 guaranteed players signed free agent contracts this summer, and can't be traded until at least December, and that doesn't include Dirk Nowitzki, who isn't going anywhere.

I doubt Dallas will trade Shawn Marion or Vince Carter, and waiving Jae Crowder seems unlikely. In other words, there's no obvious way to clear a roster spot for Ebanks, Melo, or any other camp invitees, so it will be interesting to see what happens if one of them blows the Mavs away in the preseason.

Milwaukee Bucks
Guaranteed contracts: 15
Camp invitees: 3 (Junior Cadougan, Olek Czyz, Trey McKinney Jones)

When they sent Brandon Jennings to the Pistons in exchange for three players, the Bucks looked like they'd be carrying one too many guaranteed deals into camp, but the team managed to make a two-for-one trade for Caron Butler, reducing the roster count to 15. Many of Milwaukee's players recently signed, and therefore can't be traded and won't be cut anytime soon, so the club is virtually certain to roll with its current 15. That means the camp invitees will likely just be extra bodies, particularly since the Bucks don't run their own D-League affiliate.

Phoenix Suns
Guaranteed contracts: 16
Camp invitees: 1 (Dionte Christmas)

The Suns are the only team on this list carrying more than 15 guaranteed deals, in part because of the aforementioned two-for-one trade with the Bucks. They'll have to trade or cut a player before the regular season, and I'd guess it will be either Ishmael Smith or Malcolm Lee, who were both included in offseason trades for salary purposes.

Given the team's depth at point guard, Phoenix may prefer to hang on to Lee, who is more of a two, rather than Smith, who would be playing behind Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, and Kendall Marshall at the point. A Marshall trade is another possibility, albeit a less likely one.

Portland Trail Blazers
Guaranteed contracts: 15
Camp invitees: 4 (Dee Bost, Terrel Harris, Richard Howell, E.J. Singler)

Harris doesn't technically qualify as a camp invitee, but he's on a non-guaranteed deal, which Portland will likely drop soon. Bost, Howell, and Singler figure to be cut eventually as well, but it's interesting that the Blazers would give small guarantees to Bost and Howell. Perhaps those guarantees will act as incentives for those players to join the Idaho Stampede, the Blazers' D-League affiliate.

Of the Blazers' guaranteed players, Will Barton has the least money owed to him, and doesn't figure to play a huge role for this year's team, so he's probably the most likely candidate to be cut, if Portland wants to add someone else.

Washington Wizards
Guaranteed contracts: 15
Camp invitees: 0

Like the Nets, the Wizards looked to have a fairly straightforward roster situation until this week, when the team announced that Chris Singleton and Emeka Okafor were both expected to miss the preseason with injuries. That still leaves the team with plenty of healthy bodies for now, so I don't imagine any major roster shakeups are on the way. But if another frontcourt player or two goes down, a move may become necessary.

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