January is generally a month full of roster shuffling in the NBA. The opening of the 10-day contract period (January 5), the salary guarantee deadline (January 7), the two-way contract deadline (January 15), and the upcoming trade deadline (February 6) all incentivize teams to make changes to their rosters.
With those dates in mind, we’re taking a look today at which teams around the NBA still have openings on their 15-man rosters and which ones have a two-way contract slot available.
Listed below, with the help of our roster counts breakdown, are the teams that aren’t carrying full rosters.
Teams with an open 15-man roster spot:
- Denver Nuggets
- Golden State Warriors
- Note: The Warriors have two open roster spots.
- Houston Rockets
- Miami Heat
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Orlando Magic
- Portland Trail Blazers
Not carrying a full 15-man roster saves a team some money and gives that team the flexibility to add a player in a trade or on the buyout market. For most the teams listed above, the financial factor probably outweighs the roster-flexibility factor — the Warriors, Rockets, Heat, Thunder, and Trail Blazers are all in tax territory, while the Nuggets are close. Only the Magic don’t have immediate tax concerns.
It’s worth noting that because Golden State has two open roster spots, the team has a two-week window after waiving Marquese Chriss on Tuesday to get to the required minimum of 14 players. They’re expected to promote two-way player Damion Lee, which would open up a two-way contract slot.
Teams whose full 15-man rosters include at least one 10-day contract:
- Atlanta Hawks
- Brooklyn Nets
- Cleveland Cavaliers
Paul Watson is currently on a 10-day contract with the Hawks, while Justin Anderson has one with the Nets. Those deals will expire at the end of the day on January 15, so each team could open up a roster spot at that point by not re-signing Watson or Anderson to a second 10-day pact.
As for the Cavaliers, they have two players on 10-day contracts after re-signing Alfonzo McKinnie and Tyler Cook on Thursday. Those deals will run through January 18, at which time Cleveland could re-sign one or both players, or move forward with just 13 players for up to two weeks.
Teams with an open two-way contract slot:
- Phoenix Suns
The Suns have been the only NBA team carrying just one two-way player all season long. Phoenix has its own G League affiliate and two-way contracts don’t count against the cap at all, so the franchise’s motivation for not filling that spot remains unclear. While there’s no indication a move is imminent, it would be surprising if the Suns don’t sign a second two-way player before the January 15 deadline.