The NBA has made a small adjustment to its roster rules for the 2020/21 season, allowing teams to sign players to 10-day contracts via the hardship provision before the annual window for standard 10-day signings opens, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).
As we outlined earlier today, the hardship provision allows a team hit hard by the injury bug to add an extra player to its roster if that club has four injured players who meet certain criteria. The Grizzlies are the first team this season to be granted a hardship exception.
A player signed via the hardship provision later in the season would receive a 10-day contract. But since 10-day deals can’t be signed until January 5 in a normal league year (February 23 this year), players signed via the hardship provision before that date receive minimum-salary contracts that are non-guaranteed but cover the full season. Once those players are cut, their cap hits are adjusted to reflect the amount of days they were under contract.
As Marks explains (via Twitter), allowing teams to sign players to 10-day contracts via the hardship provision earlier in the season opens the door for a hard-capped team to add a player. The cap hit for a 10-day contract worth the veteran’s minimum would be just $110,998 — even the teams that are closest to the hard cap would be able to squeeze that figure onto their books. A number of those teams wouldn’t be able to sign a player to a standard (full-season) minimum contract yet though, even if the contract is non-guaranteed and they’re granted a hardship exception.
Additionally, Marks notes, the rule tweak gives teams some protection in the event of a major injury. If a player suffers a season-ending injury while on a 10-day deal, he’d be owed the rest of his 10-day salary — if he suffers a season-ending injury while on a non-guaranteed standard contract, he’d be owed his full-season salary.
Players are typically only permitted to sign a maximum of two 10-day contracts with the same team in a single league year, but a 10-day deal signed using the hardship provision won’t count against that limit, tweets Marks.
Tim Frazier‘s deal with the Grizzlies via the hardship provision hasn’t been officially announced yet, but it seems likely Memphis will take advantage of this rule tweak and sign the veteran guard to a 10-day contract.