NBA Waiver Order Now Based On 2020/21 Records

As of January 25, the NBA’s waiver priority order is determined by teams’ current-year records, rather than the previous season’s results, as Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter).

That means the waiver order for this season is now based on teams’ 2020/21 records, with the worst teams getting the highest priority. In other words, if two teams place a claim on the same player, the team lower in this season’s NBA standings will be awarded that player.

Up until today, the waiver claim order was based on which teams had the worst records in 2019/20 prior to the March 11 stoppage. In a normal league year, the changeover to current-year records occurs on December 1, but that date was pushed back this season to account for the late start.

Waiver claims are somewhat rare in the NBA, but it’s still worth noting which teams will have the first crack at intriguing players who may be cut over the next few weeks or months.

[RELATED: 2020/21 NBA Waiver Claims]

Here’s what the teams currently at the top of the NBA’s waiver order look like, as of today:

  1. Detroit Pistons (3-13)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves (4-11)
  3. Washington Wizards (3-9)
  4. New Orleans Pelicans (5-10)
  5. Sacramento Kings (6-10)

In instances where multiple teams have identical records, head-to-head record for the current season is used to break ties, if possible. Otherwise, a coin flip determines priority for those tied teams.

If a waived player can’t be claimed using the minimum salary exception, a team must use a trade exception, a disabled player exception, or cap room to absorb his salary. So a club with a top priority won’t be in position to nab just anyone who reaches waivers.

The Pistons, for example, have no cap space or exceptions available to place a waiver claim on any player earning more than the minimum, so despite their spot at the top of the waiver order, their ability to claim players is fairly limited.

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8 thoughts on “NBA Waiver Order Now Based On 2020/21 Records

  1. nentwigs

    C’mon TIMBERPUPPIES !!
    Let’s HOLD ON to that
    TOP THREE PROTECTED
    2021 First Round Draft Choice….
    KEEP UP THE BAD WORK !!

    • "Stons" Fan

      Prob with that is they are paying 2 guys in their primes max money to lose. Unlike the Pistons for example that simply need to get rid if Griffin and Rose to usher in a full rebuild.

      • x%sure

        But can you say the Pistons should tank. I don’t see a difference between “full rebuild” and tank, unless… They could tank better by keeping role models around so youngsters are not developing in a vacuum.

  2. phenomenalajs

    Was the Wizards’ claim of Len based on this order or the end of last season or did he clear waivers before he signed?

    • phenomenalajs

      I guess I see my own answer. It would’ve been based upon last year. They made it to the bubble but their pre-bubble record was still worse than several Western Conference teams that didn’t make it, I believe. Still they’re spot in the order now is earlier than it would have been last week. Len didn’t clear waivers because Toronto wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get any benefit from his signing if he did.
      Even if Brooklyn wanted him, the Wizards’ claim would’ve come first in either scenario. Pelle may work out better for the Nets anyway.

      • phenomenalajs

        Their spot, even… I answer my own questions and correct my own grammar mistakes. I’m schizophrenic and so am I…

    • Luke Adams

      Len cleared waivers and signed a new contract as a free agent. The reason the Raptors may benefit slightly is due to “set-off rights,” which allow teams to reduce the cap hit of a player they’ve waived if he signs with a new team.

  3. Walladipo and Wood

    Washington has gone an NBA-worst 4-16 since the restart in Orlando six months ago.

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