Near the start of the 2017/18 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 nearly 100 names, so any clubs eager to make a move could engage in more serious trade talks around mid-December.
For players who signed contracts later in the offseason or who meet certain specific criteria, there are other dates to watch. Jason Terry (Bucks), Andrew Bogut (Lakers), Aaron Brooks (Timberwolves), Alex Len (Suns), Dante Cunningham (Pelicans), Bobby Brown (Rockets), and Dwyane Wade (Cavaliers) will all become trade-eligible between December 15 and the end of the month, while some other offseason signees can’t be dealt until January 15.
Waiver order changes:
Waiver claims are pretty rare in the NBA, since teams must have cap room, a trade exception, or a disabled player exception to claim any player earning 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. That means that the Bulls, Hawks, and Mavericks are on track to move to the top of that list starting on Friday, supplanting the Nets, Suns, and Lakers.
Salary guarantee dates:
Most non-guaranteed salaries won’t become guaranteed until January, but there are a few specific dates to watch in December. Dorian Finney-Smith (Mavericks) will get a bump to his partial guarantee on December 5, while Luke Babbitt (Hawks) will have his full salary guaranteed for 2017/18 if he remains under contract through December 15. 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 Oakland — that game gets even more interesting if Isaiah Thomas is back by then, which is a distinct possibility. However, there’s something to like about each of the other four matchups as well.
A battle of young bigs will open the day, with Kristaps Porzingis‘ Knicks hosting Joel Embiid and the Sixers; the Wizards/Celtics rivalry will get its latest chapter in Boston; James Harden‘s Rockets will visit his former team, the Thunder; and the new-look Timberwolves will face the young Lakers in Los Angeles to wrap up the Christmas slate.