During a typical NBA league year, a player must be waived by March 1 in order to retain his postseason eligibility for a new team. However, due to the late start in 2020/21, that date has been pushed back to Friday, April 9 — today.
That means that any player who remains on an NBA roster after today won’t be eligible to suit up in the postseason for a new team, though there are a few exceptions to that general rule.
Crucially, a player who is currently on a 10-day contract represents one such exception. For instance, once DeMarcus Cousins‘ 10-day deal with the Clippers expires next Wednesday, he’d still be able to re-sign with L.A. or join a new team and be eligible to play in the postseason, since he’s not being placed on waivers after April 9.
Here’s the list of players currently on 10-day contracts who will retain their playoff eligibility when their current deals expire:
- Alize Johnson, Nets (runs through 4/10)
- Oshae Brissett, Pacers (4/10)
- Norvel Pelle, Knicks (4/11)
- Isaiah Thomas, Pelicans (4/12)
- Justin Robinson, Thunder (4/14)
- John Henson, Knicks (4/14)
- DeMarcus Cousins, Clippers (4/14)
- Devin Cannady, Magic (4/15)
- Damian Jones, Kings (4/16)
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Trail Blazers (4/17)
- Gary Payton II, Warriors (4/17)
- Freddie Gillespie, Raptors (4/17)
It’s also worth clarifying that a player didn’t have to sign with a new team by April 9 to be playoff-eligible — he simply has to be placed on waivers by 11:59pm ET on Friday. As long as a player who fits that bill signs with a new team by May 16, the final day of the regular season, he can play in the postseason.
This April 9 deadline is one reason why we’ve seen a flurry of roster moves as of late. Within the last week alone, DaQuan Jeffries, Ben McLemore, Justin Jackson, Jerome Robinson, Gary Clark, Khem Birch, Ignas Brazdeikis, Darius Miller, and Patrick McCaw have been released. More players could join that list today.
All of those players will be playoff-eligible if they join a new team (Jeffries and McLemore already have), but anyone on a standard contract who is waived after today won’t be.
As for two-way players, this is the first season in which they’ve been eligible to play in the postseason at all, so the rules pertaining to them aren’t entirely clear. However, since they also pass through waivers, my working assumption is that they’ll be subject to the same rules as players on standard deals — any waived after today likely won’t be able to participate in the postseason.