The Importance Of January 15 For NBA Teams

Unlike February 6, the date of this season’s trade deadline, January 15 probably isn’t a day that many NBA fans have circled on their calendars. Still, it represents an important date for NBA teams for a variety of transaction-related reasons.

[RELATED: Key In-Season NBA Dates, Deadlines For 2019/20]

Here’s a breakdown of what to watch for today:

Players becoming trade-eligible:

Most players who signed as free agents during the 2019 offseason had their trade restrictions lifted on December 15, but a select group of players remained ineligible to be traded until January 15. These players all meet a specific set of criteria: Not only did they re-sign with their previous team last 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.

Here’s the full list of players who fit that bill and become trade-eligible today:

While stars like Porzingis and Thompson aren’t going anywhere, a few players on this list – such as Nene, Zubac, and Theis – could be the subject of some trade rumors in the coming weeks.

Deadline to sign players to two-way contracts:

Wednesday represents the last day that a team can sign a player to a two-way contract for the 2019/20 season. Two-way players can still be waived or promoted to 15-man rosters after January 15, but as of Thursday, they can’t be replaced. So we’ll likely see a small handful of moves completed today as clubs get those two-way slots in order for the second half.

On Monday, I singled out a few two-way contract situations around the NBA as ones worth watching. Most of those clubs have acted since then, including the Cavaliers, Suns, and Heat, who have all reportedly reached agreements to fill their open two-way slots.

The full list of current two-way contracts can be found right here.

Deadline to apply for a disabled player exception:

January 15 is also the last day for teams to apply for a disabled player exception for the 2019/20 season. This exception provides a little extra cap flexibility for clubs that have lost a player to a season-ending injury.

The Pistons recently applied for a disabled player exception after Blake Griffin underwent knee surgery. The Cavaliers did the same following Dylan Windler‘s season-ending leg injury. And the Magic requested a pair of DPEs, with Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu both on the shelf.

It’s not clear if any other teams will follow suit before Wednesday’s deadline, since no other season-ending injuries have been recently reported. After today, teams won’t be able to apply for a disabled player exception for any player who suffers a season-ending ailment.

The deadline to use a disabled player exception is March 10. The Wizards, Pelicans, Trail Blazers, Lakers, and Nets all have DPEs available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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