Waiver claims are something of a rarity in the NBA. In order to claim a player off waivers, a team generally must be able to fit the player’s entire salary into cap room, a traded player exception, or a disabled player exception. While there are a few teams with sizable trade exceptions available, disabled player exceptions can only be granted during the season, and the Kings are the only team with real cap room left.
Given those limitations, the players most frequently claimed on waivers are those on minimum salary deals, since any club is eligible to place a claim on those players using the minimum salary exception. Even then though, there are exceptions — the minimum salary exception can only be used to sign players for up to two years, so the same rules apply to waiver claims. If a player signed a three-year, minimum salary contract, he can’t be claimed using the minimum salary exception.
Taking into account all the rules that reduce the odds of a waiver claim – not to mention the limited roster spots available for NBA teams – it makes sense that nearly all of the players who get released ultimately clear waivers. During the 2017/18 league year, only four players were claimed off waivers. That number was six in 2016/17 and seven in 2015/16.
Despite how infrequent they are, we still want to track all the waiver claims that take place during the 2018/19 league year, so we’ll do so in the space below. This list will be updated throughout the offseason and regular season to include the latest claims.
Here’s the list:
- Wizards claim Thomas Bryant from Lakers (July 2)
- The Lakers waived Bryant before his $1,378,242 salary for 2018/19 became guaranteed, but the Wizards were happy to guarantee that figure for the young center. Because Bryant signed a two-year, minimum salary contract in 2017, he was eligible to be claimed using the minimum salary exception. He’ll be eligible for restricted free agency at the end of the ’18/19 season.
- Bulls claim Antonius Cleveland from Hawks (July 23)
- Cleveland signed a two-year, minimum salary contract with the Hawks near the end of the 2017/18 season, so the Bulls used the minimum salary exception to claim him after having spent all their cap room on Jabari Parker. Cleveland’s $1,378,242 salary for 2018/19 won’t become guaranteed until January, but the Hawks waived him early in order to create more space to accommodate their Carmelo Anthony acquisition. If Cleveland sticks with the Bulls, he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2019.