The NBA has occasionally granted teams the power to carry more than 15 players during the regular season in the past, but the league has been especially willing to give teams an extra man over the past calendar year. Fittingly, the NBA allowed 16 roster moves that left teams with 16 players last season. Philadelphia’s addition of Phil Pressey last week represented the 17th time in a one-year span that a roster swelled past the usual limit. The trend shows no signs of slowing down now that the one-year anniversary of last year’s first 16th roster spot has passed, with the Pelicans having applied for a hardship provision to add Jimmer Fredette as an extra man.
The hardship provision, designed to allow for injury relief, isn’t the only way a team can carry a larger-than-normal roster. Teams have the power to do so to compensate for the loss of players on lengthy suspensions, and that’s what the Sixers did on numerous occasions last season after they suspended Andrei Kirilenko for failing to report after a trade. The Bucks did the same, signing Jorge Gutierrez to a pair of 10-day contracts while Larry Sanders was on suspension. The Grizzlies had several players out with illness when they signed Kalin Lucas and Hassan Whiteside, augmenting what had been a 14-man roster, but that opportunity came about because Nick Calathes was suspended, not because of injury or illness.
None of last year’s 16th men are still with their respective teams, which makes sense, since extra roster spots are temporary measures. Still, a few noteworthy names dot the list below, including Whiteside, who joined the Heat and blossomed into a key player just days after the Grizzlies let him go. Here’s a timeline of teams adding 16th players over the past year:
- November 6th, 2014 — Pacers sign A.J. Price.
- November 7th, 2014 — Thunder sign Ish Smith.
- November 19th, 2014 — Grizzlies sign Kalin Lucas, Hassan Whiteside (initially had 14 players).
- November 29th, 2014 — Timberwolves sign Jeff Adrien.
- January 7th, 2015 — Sixers trade for Jared Cunningham (waived the same day).
- January 16th, 2015 — Sixers sign Larry Drew II.
- January 26th, 2015 — Sixers sign Larry Drew II (second 10-day contract).
- January 28th, 2015 — Bucks sign Jorge Gutierrez.
- February 5th, 2015 — Sixers sign Tim Frazier.
- February 7th, 2015 — Bucks sign Jorge Gutierrez (second 10-day contract).
- March 10th, 2015 — Lakers sign Jabari Brown.
- March 19th, 2015 — Timberwolves sign Sean Kilpatrick.
- March 21st, 2015 — Lakers sign Jabari Brown (second 10-day contract).
- April 3rd, 2015 — Lakers sign Dwight Buycks.
- April 7th, 2015 — Timberwolves sign Arinze Onuaku.
- April 13th, 2015 — Lakers sign Vander Blue.
- November 4th, 2015 — Sixers sign Phil Pressey.
- Soon — The Pelicans will reportedly sign Jimmer Fredette.