NBA Players Who Still Can’t Be Traded

Most of 2018’s offseason signees became eligible to be traded over the weekend, and at least one team wasted no time in moving one of those players, as the Suns sent Trevor Ariza in a deal completed earlier today.

However, while most players on NBA contracts can now be dealt, there are still a handful of players who remain ineligible to be traded — at least for now.

Here’s a breakdown of the players still facing trade restrictions:

Players who met the January 15 criteria:

Not every player who signed a free agent contract in the offseason had their trade restrictions lifted on December 15. For a select handful of players, that date will be January 15 instead.

These players all meet a specific set of criteria: Not only did they re-sign with their previous team this offseason, but they got a raise of at least 20%, their salary is worth more than the minimum, and their team was over the cap, using Bird or Early Bird rights to sign them.

The following players meet this criteria and will become trade-eligible on January 15:

Players who signed as free agents after September 15:

Technically, the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement states that a player who signs a free agent contract can’t be traded for three months or until December 15, whichever comes later. Most big-name free agents sign new contracts in July, so we default to December 15 in those cases. That’s not the case for everyone though, as the three-month rule applies to any player who signs after September 15.

Here are the players who signed after September 15 and remain on NBA rosters, along with the dates they’ll become trade-eligible:

Of course, since this season’s trade deadline falls on February 7, players who signed their contracts after November 7 won’t be trade-eligible at all until after the season. The following players fit that bill:

Players who recently signed contract extensions:

When a player signs a veteran contract extension that exceeds the NBA’s extend-and-trade rules – which are fairly restrictive – he can’t be traded for six months. There are only two players who have signed veteran extensions so far in the 2018/19 league year: Kevin Love of the Cavaliers and Spencer Dinwiddie of the Nets.

Because Love signed his extension on July 24, he’ll become trade-eligible on January 24, a couple weeks before the deadline. But since Dinwiddie just signed his extension last week, he won’t be trade-eligible until June.

Players who can be dealt — with caveats:

The players in this group can technically be traded, so we won’t list them all. However, a variety of potential roadblocks may impact whether or not it’s actually realistic to move them this season. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Players whose contracts meet certain criteria have the ability to block trades that involve them. Here’s the full list of 22 players who have that veto ability in 2018/19.
  • Players who have trade kickers in their contracts will receive bonuses if they’re traded, which can complicate some potential deals financially. The 23 players with trade kickers in their contracts are listed here.
  • A player can’t be aggregated with another player for salary-matching purposes if he has been traded to an over-the-cap team within the last two months. That restriction currently applies to all players who have been involved in trades since the 2018/19 regular season began. However, by February 7, all of those players will be eligible to be aggregated in a trade except for Trevor Ariza, Austin Rivers, and Kelly Oubre.
  • The “poison pill provision” applies to players who signed rookie scale extensions that will begin the following season. The poison pill provision, which we outline in greater detail in a glossary entry, can make salary-matching very difficult in trades. It currently affects five players, including Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker.
  • If a team traded a player to another team earlier in the 2018/19 league year, it can’t re-acquire that player from that team again during the season. For instance, after acquiring him from Phoenix in August, the Rockets couldn’t trade Brandon Knight back to the Suns this season. This rule applies to any trade consummated since the start of July, so the full list of players moved can be found in our trackers for 2018 offseason trades and 2018/19 in-season trades.
  • Tyrone Wallace (Clippers) can’t be traded to the Pelicans this season, and Zach LaVine (Bulls) can’t be sent to the Kings. That’s because those teams signed those players to offer sheets during the 2018 offseason — when those offer sheets were matched, those teams became ineligible to trade for those players for a year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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