Five Teams Carrying Just 12 Guaranteed Contracts

As our list of offseason roster counts shows, most NBA teams currently have at least 13 players on guaranteed salaries on their respective rosters, with many teams carrying 14 or 15 such players. However, there are a handful of clubs that haven’t reached that threshold, creating some potential intrigue about what their eventual 15-man regular season rosters will look like.

Of course, not every team needs to carry the maximum 15 players, but every club must have at least 14, so the teams with 12 or fewer guaranteed salaries on their books right now will have more than just those players on their roster for opening night.

Here’s a breakdown of the five teams currently carrying 12 players on guaranteed contracts:

Dallas Mavericks
Fully guaranteed salaries: 12
Non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries: 7

With 19 players on NBA contracts and one two-way player, the Mavs have a full roster, but only 12 of those players have fully guaranteed deals. Still, there may not be many surprises when Dallas eventually makes its cuts for the regular season. Devin Harris and Dorian Finney-Smith don’t have full guarantees, but I wouldn’t expect either player to be waived.

If the Mavs carry 15 players, I’d give Jeff Withey the upper hand for the final roster spot, though Maalik Wayns, P.J. Dozier, Gian Clavell, and Brandon Ashley are also in the mix.

Houston Rockets
Fully guaranteed salaries: 12
Non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries: 5

The Rockets stockpiled players on non-guaranteed contracts this offseason for trade purposes, but haven’t ended up dealing most of them. Troy Williams has a significant partial guarantee and should make the team’s opening night roster, but the final two roster spots could be up for grabs. Tim Quarterman, Shawn Long, Isaiah Taylor, and Cameron Oliver are candidates, and I might give the latter two the edge, since they signed outright with the Rockets, rather than arriving as trade pieces.

Minnesota Timberwolves
Fully guaranteed salaries: 12
Non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries: 1

No team was carrying fewer players on NBA contracts entering Tuesday than the Timberwolves, who have indicated for about two months that they intend to add three more veterans, likely on guaranteed deals. Shabazz Muhammad became the first of the three, reaching an agreement today to return to the club and bringing the club’s total guaranteed salary count to 12. If the Wolves add two more vets, as planned, players like Dante Cunningham, Anthony Morrow, and Jason Terry would be candidates to sign.

If Minnesota doesn’t get up to 14 guaranteed contracts, players like Marcus Georges-Hunt and Melo Trimble (who reportedly agreed to sign with the club) could compete for roster spots.

Philadelphia 76ers
Fully guaranteed salaries: 12
Non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries: 4

While a non-guaranteed salary would mean a precarious grip on a roster spot for most players, that’s not the case for three Sixers with non-guaranteed deals — Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes, and T.J. McConnell will eventually have their contracts guaranteed, barring some unexpected turn. Adding those three players to the 12 Sixers with fully guaranteed contracts already would fill up the 15-man regular season roster, leaving James Blackmon Jr. and any other camp invitees as the odd men out.

Phoenix Suns
Fully guaranteed salaries: 12
Non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries: 2

The Suns currently only have 12 players with fully guaranteed salaries, but a handful of incumbent players may end up filling out the rest of the roster. Alex Len remains a restricted free agent, and seems like a good bet to return to Phoenix, which would bring the team’s roster count to 13. Derrick Jones and Elijah Millsap may also have an inside track on roster spots, having spent time with the franchise last season. Peter Jok – who has a reported agreement with Phoenix – and any other camp invitees could push for consideration with a strong preseason, however.

Note: The New Orleans Pelicans technically have just 12 guaranteed salaries on their books at the moment, but reached an agreement on Monday with Tony Allen, whose deal will increase the club’s guaranteed contract count to 13.

Contract information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

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3 thoughts on “Five Teams Carrying Just 12 Guaranteed Contracts

  1. rxbrgr

    It may be a stretch to call Elijah Millsap a young prospect.

    • It may be a stretch to call Elijah Milsap a prospect at all.

      How many camps has he been in and for how many years (signs a camp invite, gets cut?)

      He’s had his fair share of chances and only because of his last name. G league allstar.

    • Luke Adams

      Good point. For some reason I always thinks he’s about five years younger than he actually is. I’ve adjusted the wording in that sentence accordingly.


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