Dates That Teams Can Trade Offseason Signees

The focus around the league will shift from free agency to trades after the regular season begins Tuesday, but several restrictions in the collective bargaining agreement figure to keep most swaps from taking place until several more weeks have passed. NBA teams are generally unable to trade any player they sign for three months after he puts his signature on the dotted line, or December 15th of the following season, whichever is later.

This rule doesn’t apply to draft picks, as they can be traded just 30 days later, even if the signing were to occur after the season had already begun, or years down the line, which happens in the case of draft-and-stash players. Sign-and-trades are a bit different, as the initial trade is allowed, but the 90-day restriction holds for the purposes of any subsequent deals.

There is also a restriction on making a trade that aggregates the salary of a player who was acquired via trade within the last two months. Those players may be traded by themselves or in a package in which their salaries aren’t aggregated, however. For example, the Wolves acquired Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett in the deal that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland, and their salaries were aggregated in that trade for matching purposes. Neither Wiggins nor Bennett would have been eligible for inclusion in another trade that aggregated their salaries until October 23rd, two months after the Love trade became official.

Another notable circumstance that restricts when a player can be traded is if a player is claimed off waivers. If a player is claimed during the season, the claiming team cannot trade him for a period of 30 days. If the waiver claim was made in the offseason, then the claiming team could not trade that player until the 30th day of the following regular season. Examples of this would be Kendall Marshall of the Bucks and Willie Green of the Magic. Neither team can deal them until November 26th. Players claimed off amnesty waivers can’t be traded until the following July, a rule that applies to only Carlos Boozer this year.

Tony Parker and Zach Randolph are the only players who fall under the rule against trading players who sign veteran extensions. Their teams can’t trade them for six months from the day they sign their extensions if their new deals are more lucrative or lengthy than those allowed in an extend-and-trade transaction. That’s the case with Parker and Randolph, so they’re staying put for now. The same rule doesn’t apply to rookie scale extensions, though the Poison Pill Provision exists to discourage teams from trading those players.

There are also a number of players who cannot be dealt without their consent. This covers players with no-trade clauses in their contracts. For example, when the Celtics dealt Kevin Garnett to the Nets, Garnett had to waive his no-trade clause in order for the trade to happen. Any team that matches an offer sheet for a player can’t trade him for a year without his consent, so Gordon Hayward holds veto power if the Jazz attempt to trade him this season. Any player who re-signs with his team but commits only to a one-year contract receives a de facto no-trade clause. This also applies to two-year deals that include team or player options. Players such as Greg Monroe and Kevin Seraphin, who have signed one-year qualifying offers, cannot be traded without their consent, either. Players with de facto no-trade clauses have an incentive not to agree to a swap. If such a player did OK a trade, he would enter free agency the following summer as a Non-Bird rights player instead of a player with Early Bird or full Bird rights, thus drastically lowering his team’s power to exceed the salary cap to re-sign him.

Those players are nonetheless listed below, regardless of how likely or unlikely they are to be traded. So, if the Cavaliers and LeBron James decide their fences haven’t been mended after all and the team risks the ire of its fans in an attempt to trade him, no deal could take place before December 15th. Similarly, the team LeBron left behind is severely limited in its trade options for now, since 11 of the players on the Heat roster are ineligible to be traded.

Here’s the date that each player acquired during the offseason becomes eligible for a trade, grouped by team:




























Trail Blazers



Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ and the RealGM transactions log were used in the creation of this post.

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