Teams With Open Roster Spots

For the first time, NBA teams are permitted to carry up to 17 players this season. In addition to carrying up to 15 players to the NBA roster, teams can add two more players on two-way contracts. The rule changes related to roster sizes have allowed teams to maintain a little extra flexibility, and many clubs are taking advantage of that added flexibility to open the season, carrying the full 17 players.

Several teams still have open roster spots though, affording those clubs a different kind of flexibility. A team carrying only 14 NBA players, for instance, has the opportunity to sign a free agent or add a player in a trade at any time without waiving anyone, all the while avoiding paying for a 15th man who almost certainly won’t see much playing time.

With the help of our roster count page and our two-way contract tracker, here’s a breakdown of the teams that have at least one open NBA or two-way spot on their rosters:

Teams carrying just 14 NBA contracts:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Houston Rockets
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Portland Trail Blazers

It makes sense that a few of these teams would avoid carrying a 15th man to open the season. The Rockets, Thunder, and Trail Blazers are all taxpayers, and teams like the Clippers and Hornets are close enough to the tax threshold that avoiding a 15th salary is logical. Among these clubs, the Celtics seem like perhaps the best bet to fill their final roster opening soon, now that the team has likely lost Gordon Hayward for the season.

Teams carrying just one two-way contract:

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Houston Rockets
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New York Knicks
  • Portland Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers don’t currently have a G League affiliate of their own, but the other five teams on this list do, so that’s probably not the reason Portland has waited to fill its second two-way slot. In all likelihood, these six teams will add a second two-way player in time for G League training camps, which open next week. The season tips off on November 3.

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