Nearly Half Of NBA’s Teams Have Open Roster Spots

After the NBA’s transactions wire remained relatively quiet for the first few weeks of the 2020/21 season, teams have begun making moves with a little more frequency as of late.

While one recent transaction – the four-team trade that sent James Harden to Brooklyn – was clearly a higher-impact move than the rest, a number of clubs have made smaller changes to their rosters by waiving players this week. The Raptors and Wizards cut big men Alex Len and Anzejs Pasecniks from their 15-man rosters, while the Sixers opened up a two-way slot by releasing Dakota Mathias.

As a result, there are now 12 teams across the NBA that have at least one open 15-man roster spot. One of those teams – the Trail Blazers – also has an open two-way contract slot, as do two others, leaving just 16 clubs who are carrying the maximum of 17 players.

With so many clubs facing roster shortages recently and the NBA and NBPA discussing the possibility of adding a third two-way slot to rosters for the rest of the season, it’s a little surprising that more teams aren’t making use of all 17 available spots, but it will likely just be a matter of time before those many of those openings get filled.

Here’s the current breakdown of teams with open roster spots:


Teams with an open 15-man roster spot:

  • Brooklyn Nets
    • Note: The Nets have three open roster spots and will need to fill at least two of them within two weeks of completing the Harden trade.
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Los Angeles Clippers *
  • Los Angeles Lakers *
  • Milwaukee Bucks *
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Utah Jazz
  • Washington Wizards

Note: An asterisk (*) denotes that the team can’t currently sign a 15th man due to the hard cap.

Teams with an open two-way slot:

  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Portland Trail Blazers
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10 thoughts on “Nearly Half Of NBA’s Teams Have Open Roster Spots

  1. brewpackbuckbadg

    A “hard cap” is only caused by a sign and trade deal, correct?

    If this is so, is a sign and trade deal a way for teams to suppress salaries league wide? What I mean is…say a team doesn’t want to even consider paying luxury tax so they make sure to make a sign and trade deal that doesn’t make this possible.

    Sorry there are other exceptions but the sign and trade thing seems like a way to make it look like you want to be hard capped.

    • HailRodgers12$

      With all the restrictions it brings though, I’d guess no.
      I’m sure Milwaukee (for example) would much rather be able to make a mid level move..be it a trade or signing..than be left sitting on the sidelines (pun intended)

    • Luke Adams

      It’s also caused by using more than the taxpayer portion of the mid-level exception, or using the bi-annual exception.

      The logic is that the NBA doesn’t want teams that are way over the tax to have all the same benefits as teams that haven’t spent as much, so those way-in-the-tax teams aren’t permitted to use the full MLE (or BAE), or to acquire players via sign-and-trade.

      So when a team DOES do one of those things, they subsequently won’t be allowed to go way into the tax for the rest of the season, which is where the hard cap comes in.

      I hear what you’re saying. But for what it’s worth, the hard cap is actually a few million above the tax threshold, so the Clippers, Lakers, and Bucks are all projected taxpayers right now — their bills just won’t be as big as the ones that non-hard-capped teams like the Warriors and Nets will pay.

  2. fishy14

    This is Why Udonis Haslem still gets signed for 4 mill And plays 3 min a night then out do to fatigue

  3. phenomenalajs

    I understand the Nets have to fill two of their three open roster spots by the end of next week, but they don’t seem to be going out of their way to do it. Could they just convert their two 2-ways to standard contracts to cover that, then fill the two-ways before the bubble season starts? That wouldn’t be my recommendation but I could see them doing that. I suppose if the bubble season is about to start, they could just designate two players on the LI Nets as two-way players. I really think they should go outside for a big. They have their taxpayer MLE and, probably soon, a DPE as well.

    • osaegthong

      grab a center and a defensive minded wing or guard and da nets are set to go on their road to championship contention. if they dont fill those spots out, that will be a bummer. tbh we do have claxton and perry but claxron can barely even stay healthy enough to play and perry us just a rookie and hes kind of undersized compared to da other centers he has to guard like embiid, jokic, giannis, bam, and many others. ofc we do have jordan but hes past his prime and he doesnt do much on offense. it literally took nearly da whole game for him just to get a double double against da bucks

  4. osaegthong

    Bucks need a defensive minded center if they wanna keep giannis happy. still a bunch of those out there like their old buddy john henson, patton whos extremely injury prone, their old two way buddy brandon mccoy, skal, caboclo, and an alex len who just got dumped by da raptors. thot o quinn will be a good fit but he got a better deal in turkey

  5. PhillyPhan69

    Well teams are being forced to play if they can suit up 8 guys…even if 2 of them are 2 way guys you don’t want playing major minutes. Makes sense to me. If you don’t want to play meaningful games with mediocre talent.

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