NBA teams can carry as many as 20 players during the preseason, but they have to trim that number to 15 by October 26th, the last day before regular season games begin. Every team is carrying at least 17 players, and almost half the league has full 20-man rosters. Currently, 573 players are under contract with NBA teams. That number will decline to no more than 450 by the deadline later this month, meaning at least 123 players will go on waivers between now and then.
Some teams have more moves to make than others. The Clippers, Pacers and Trail Blazers need only trim two players. Most teams will end up cutting four or five, but some may release even more. Teams need only carry 13 players in the regular season, and while 27 of the 30 teams had full 15-man rosters on opening night last year, the Bulls, who have 19 players in the wake of today’s signing, and other franchises have made a habit of beginning the regular season with smaller rosters.
Most of the extra players on NBA rosters have non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts, so teams have flexibility, but 16 teams can make signings without having to make a corresponding move. Here’s a breakdown of each team’s open preseason roster spots:
Three open preseason spots
- Trail Blazers
Two open preseason spots
One open preseason spot
Zero open preseason spots
Note: The Cavaliers have 20 players even without Tristan Thompson, so they’ll have to waive somebody for him to come aboard if he does.