Players On De Facto Non-Guaranteed Deals

More than two dozen current NBA players without full guarantees on their salaries for this season have at least a modicum of salary protection in the form of partially guaranteed money. Many of them had a leg up in training camp because of that cash, which would have made it more costly for their teams to let them go and keep another player who had a non-guaranteed deal. However, the majority of the players who have partially guaranteed salary this season have already earned more than those amounts and have no guaranteed money for any subsequent seasons on their contracts, meaning they’re now on de facto non-guaranteed pacts.

Tarik Black received a partial guarantee worth $50K when he signed with the Rockets for this season. He beat out some players with fully guaranteed salaries to earn a spot on the opening-night roster, but for much of the season, he’s kept his place on the team even though the Rockets would no longer owe him any extra money if they let him go. Precisely 30% of the season has already lapsed, but Black’s partial guarantee covered only about 10% of his full season’s pay. By virtue of sticking around as long as he has, the Rockets have already paid out much more than that $50K, meaning they wouldn’t be on the hook for any more money if they let Black go today.

Several others are in a similar position, as the list below shows, with the partially guaranteed amount and the full season salary for each player in parentheses. The final figures here are rounded to the nearest $1K:

Two players appear set to cross that threshold soon. Dewayne Dedmon, guaranteed $250K of a salary worth about $816,482, will, as of Friday, have stayed on the Magic’s roster longer than the amount of time his partial guarantee covers. The same will be true come January 3rd for Kings power forward Eric Moreland, who will make no less than $200K of his $507,336 salary. Other players on partially guaranteed deals won’t surpass their guaranteed amounts by January 7th, the last day teams can waive non-guaranteed contracts before those deals become fully guaranteed. They’re listed here:


— Various reports over the summer left it unclear just how much of Pacers power forward Luis Scola‘s salary is partially guaranteed, so he’s not listed above.

— The dates considered in the calculations for this post presume that each player’s salary is to be distributed in even amounts during the season. Players are permitted to receive advances of up to the lesser of 80% of their guaranteed salary or 50% of their base salary if they’re not on minimum-salary contracts. Minimum-salary players can draw advances up to the lesser of 80% of their guaranteed salaries or 7.5% of their base salaries. Still, it’s profoundly uncommon for a player on a contract that’s not fully guaranteed to receive an advance.

Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ and the Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

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