NBA Offseason Trade Restrictions

While the NBA’s offseason trade market generally doesn’t officially swing into gear until after the NBA Finals end, teams can technically begin making deals after they’re eliminated from the playoffs. That means all 26 clubs that aren’t taking part in the Conference Finals are eligible to make trades now, if they so choose.

As teams weigh potential summer trades, they’ll have to take into account a few groups of players whose trade eligibility – or lack thereof – may impact possible deals. While most players under contract through the summer are eligible to be moved, there are some exceptions. Here are the players who can’t be dealt for part or all of the offseason due to various trade rules:

Pending free agents

Players whose contracts will expire on June 30 can’t be traded prior to that date. Beginning in July, they can be moved in sign-and-trade deals, but those are rare. Once a 2018 free agent officially signs a new contract, he is ineligible to be traded until at least December 15, and perhaps even later than that if he meets certain criteria.

Player with options

Players who have team or player options for 2018/19 can’t be traded before those option decisions are made. In other words, a club can’t acquire a player with a team option in June, then decline that option before the end of the month as a way to create cap room.

However, a player who has an option year for ’18/19 on his contract technically can be traded, either before or after the new league year begins on July 1. As part of the deal though, his option would need to be exercised. That’s what happened last year with Chris Paul, for instance, when he was sent from Los Angeles to Houston.

So if the Clippers want to trade DeAndre Jordan this summer, they’d have to rely on him exercising his player option for next season. If he turns down that option, he can’t be moved prior to June 30, and could only be moved in a sign-and-trade in July, significantly reducing the odds of a deal.

Recently signed players

The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn’t allow a team to trade a player within three months of signing him. So a player who signed with a team on February 23 still isn’t eligible to be dealt, as of today. Here are the players who signed multiyear contracts near the end of the 2017/18 season and aren’t yet eligible to be traded, along with dates representing the end of their three-month windows:

Players who received Designated Veteran Extensions

Rookie scale extensions and standard veteran extensions impose some trade restrictions on players, but the Designated Veteran Extension takes those restrictions to another level by preventing its recipients from being traded for one full calendar year. That means anyone who signs such a deal this summer – say, Kawhi Leonard – wouldn’t be able to be traded for 12 months.

The following players, who signed the first handful of DVEs under the new CBA during the 2017 offseason, remain ineligible to be traded until the dates indicated:

Waiver claims

This restriction doesn’t apply to anyone yet, but players who are claimed off waivers during the offseason can’t be traded until the 30th day of the following season. That means a team claiming a player off waivers this summer won’t be eligible to trade that player until mid-November.

Recently signed draftees

Recently drafted players are often dealt on draft night before they’ve officially signed their first NBA contracts, since there are no restrictions limiting a team’s ability to trade a player’s draft rights. However, once the player officially signs his rookie contract, he can’t be moved for a full month (30 days).

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