Roster, Contract Deadlines Loom For NBA Teams

Monday, October 15 is the last day of the 2018 NBA offseason and serves as the deadline for a number of roster- and contract-related decisions. Here are the deadlines that teams around the NBA are facing on Monday:

  • Roster limits decrease from 20 players to 15 (plus two two-way players).
  • Last day for teams to sign a player to a rookie scale extension. [RELATED: Players eligible for rookie scale extensions]
  • Last day for teams to sign a player to a veteran extension in certain scenarios. Extension-eligible veteran contracts with more than one season remaining can’t be extended after October 15; designated veteran extensions can’t be signed after October 15.
  • Last day for teams to complete sign-and-trade deals.
  • Last day for teams to convert an Exhibit 10 contract into a two-way contract.

While Monday is technically the roster cutdown deadline, many clubs will make their final moves today. That’s because players on non-guaranteed contracts must clear waivers before the first day of the regular season to avoid having their salaries begin to count against a team’s cap.

For instance, if the Suns were to keep non-guaranteed vets Isaiah Canaan and Richaun Holmes on their roster until Monday, then cut them, the team would be on the hook for a couple days’ worth of salary for each player, since the duo wouldn’t clear waivers until Wednesday. That’s not a huge chunk of money, but if clubs have already made their roster decisions, they’re more likely to just make their cuts today.

Teams who plan on releasing players with full or partial guarantees are more likely to wait until Sunday or Monday, since those salaries will count against their cap either way.

Outside of roster cuts, it will be interesting to see how many more teams reach rookie scale extension agreements with their fourth-year players by Monday night. Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Justise Winslow have signed new deals already, but 20 players remain eligible.

Larry Nance Jr. (Cavaliers), Bobby Portis (Bulls), Myles Turner (Pacers), and Delon Wright (Raptors) are among the strongest candidates for rookie scale extensions in the coming days, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe details. Lowe views Nance and Portis as the best bets in that group, though he also hears from sources that Wright’s agent – Greg Lawrence – will be in Toronto this weekend for some “last-minute meetings.” If those players and the rest who are eligible for rookie scale extensions don’t sign new contracts by Monday, they’ll be on track for restricted free agency in 2019.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider-only link), there are also 30 extension-eligible players on veteran contracts who won’t be able to get an in-season extension after Monday’s deadline passes. If an extension-eligible veteran has just one year remaining on his contract, he remains extension-eligible through Monday. But for players with multiple years left, Monday is the 2018/19 deadline. Draymond Green (Warriors), Eric Gordon (Rockets), Jae Crowder (Jazz), and E’Twaun Moore (Pelicans) are among the players in that group, per Marks, who says not to expect a new deal for Green.

Finally, while I don’t think we’ll see any sign-and-trade deals within the next couple days, Monday’s deadline is worth noting for a player like restricted free agent Patrick McCaw. Talks between McCaw and the Warriors still appear to be at a stalemate, so a sign-and-trade arrangement could be a viable option for both sides. However, that can’t happen after Monday.

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