Near the start of the 2016/17 campaign, we looked ahead and highlighted several dates and deadlines to watch on the NBA calendar throughout the rest of the season. While that list covered the general highlights, it’s worth taking a closer look, with December around the corner, at some of those key dates to keep an eye out for over the next month. Let’s dive in…
Players becoming trade-eligible:
While many NBA players can be traded now, a huge chunk can’t be dealt until December 15, which is the default date for offseason signees to become trade-eligible. Our list of players who become eligible to be moved on December 15 features well over 100 names, so clubs eager to make a move could engage in more serious trade talks around mid-December.
Of course, for players who signed contracts later in the offseason or who meet certain specific criteria, there are other dates to watch. Thomas Robinson of the Lakers becomes trade-eligible on December 21; Bobby Brown (Rockets), Kyle Wiltjer (Rockets), and Metta World Peace (Lakers) become eligible to be moved on December 23; and Nicolas Laprovittola (Spurs) can be dealt as of December 26.
Waiver order changes:
Waiver claims are pretty rare in the NBA, since teams must have cap room to claim anyone making more than the minimum salary. Still, it’s worth noting that on December 1, the waiver order changes, with the league using this year’s reverse standings instead of last year’s. Assuming the standings don’t change between now and Thursday, that means it would be the Mavericks, Sixers, and Nets at the top of the waiver order, rather than the Sixers, Lakers, and Nets.
Salary guarantee dates:
Most non-guaranteed salaries won’t become guaranteed until January, but there are a few specific dates to watch in December. JaVale McGee (Warriors) and Rodney McGruder (Heat) will get significant chunks of their 2016/17 salaries guaranteed if they remain under contract through December 1, while Dorian Finney-Smith (Mavericks) will get a bump to his partial guarantee on December 5. You can check out the full details right here.
Christmas Day lineup:
After the NFL gets Thanksgiving to itself in November, the NBA gets its showcase on Christmas Day, December 25. The highlight of this year’s schedule will be a rematch of last year’s Finals, as the Warriors play the Cavaliers in Cleveland. However, there’s something to like in each of the other four matchups as well.
The new-look Knicks host Al Horford and the Celtics; Dwyane Wade‘s Bulls are in San Antonio to face the Spurs; Russell Westbrook and the Thunder are at home against Karl-Anthony Towns and the young Timberwolves; and the surging Clippers face the surprising Lakers in a battle of Los Angeles teams.