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 at some of those key dates to keep an eye out for in January. Let’s dive in…
Non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed
January 10 is the date that all non-guaranteed NBA contracts for 2017/18 will officially become guaranteed, but January 7 is really the day to watch. If a team wants to avoid having a salary become guaranteed, the player must clear waivers before January 10, which means he needs to be cut by January 7, at the latest.
Many players without fully guaranteed salaries are in no danger of being waived within the next few days, but some teams will take the opportunity to save a little money and open up a roster spot. Here’s the list of players to watch.
Teams can begin signing players to 10-day contracts
Around the same time that several NBA clubs will be opening up a roster spot by waiving a player on a non-guaranteed salary, teams will also be able to use those newly-created openings to sign players to 10-day contracts. Those 10-day deals, which can be signed as of January 5, give teams the opportunity to pick up a short-term injury replacement, or perhaps to get a brief look at a standout G League player.
On Tuesday, we extensively outlined the details of 10-day contracts and explained how they work in our updated glossary entry on the subject.
More players become trade-eligible
A huge percentage of the NBA’s offseason signees became eligible to be traded back on December 15, but there are still many players who can’t be dealt. By the end of January, that list of players ineligible to be traded will shrink further, since there are 20 players currently on track to have those restrictions lift this month.
January 15 is the key date, with 16 players becoming trade-eligible as of that Monday. That group includes a number of players who probably aren’t going anywhere, such as Kyle Lowry and Blake Griffin. However, there are a handful of players on that list who could be involved in trade rumors in 2018 — Nikola Mirotic is the most obvious name in that category.
A handful of other offseason signees have unique trade-eligible dates this month, since they were signed sometime after September 15. Those players are DeAndre Liggins (January 10), Isaiah Taylor (January 17), Richard Jefferson (January 19), and Jameer Nelson (January 22).
Two-way contract deadlines
For the first time, NBA teams will face a pair of key deadlines relating to two-way contracts in January. The first of those dates arrives on January 15, which is the last day that a team can sign a player to a two-way contract this season. Most teams have already filled both of their two-way slots, but we could still see a few two-way cuts and signings within the next couple weeks as clubs make sure they’re set for the year.
On January 20, all players on two-way contracts will have their salaries for the season become fully guaranteed.
Other odds and ends
There are a few other dates in January that are worth mentioning, despite the fact that they’ll likely come and go without much fanfare.
On January 7, a pair of Cavaliers trade exceptions will expire, including one worth $4,837,500.
On January 10, mid-level and room exceptions – along with other cap exceptions – will start to pro-rate for the year, meaning a team with its full room exception available would no longer be able to offer the full $4.328MM amount to a free agent. Exceptions will decline in value by 1/177th per day, starting on January 10.
January 15, meanwhile, is the last day that teams can apply for a disabled player exception to replace an injured player who is deemed unlikely to return this season. A disabled player exception can give a club extra cap flexibility, though that team would still have to open up a roster spot to add a player using its DPE. Our glossary entry explaining the disabled player exception can be found right here.