Nearly every NBA team currently has a roster in compliance with regular season limits — no more than 15 players on standard contracts and two on two-way deals.
[RELATED: 2021/22 NBA Roster Counts]
However, there are still a couple teams that will need to make at least one cut before Monday’s regular season roster deadline: Charlotte and San Antonio.
The Hornets are carrying 18 players — a pair on two-way contracts, plus 16 on fully guaranteed deals. One of those 16 will have to be traded or released, and while Charlotte could surprise us, Wesley Iwundu looks like the most obvious odd man out. He was included in the summer Devonte’ Graham sign-and-trade deal for salary/cap purposes, and played limited minutes for the Hornets during the preseason.
The Spurs only have 17 players, but just one is on a two-way deal, leaving 16 on guaranteed contracts. Like the Hornets, they’ll have to trade or cut one of those players by Monday. Al-Farouq Aminu is San Antonio’s equivalent of Iwundu, having been acquired in an offseason sign-and-trade (of DeMar DeRozan) for salary-matching purposes. However, his $10MM+ expiring salary could make him a useful midseason trade chip, so the Spurs may be a little more reluctant to waive him now.
Jock Landale, Keita Bates-Diop, and Drew Eubanks are other possibilities, but the Spurs just gave Landale and Bates-Diop guaranteed money earlier this offseason, and Eubanks has taken on a slightly bigger role in each of his three years in San Antonio. Aminu still appears to be the most likely release candidate, but we’ll see today or tomorrow what the Spurs have in mind.
As we explained on Saturday, while most teams completed their roster moves early, the Hornets and Spurs can afford to take an extra day or two to consider their options without any financial ramifications, since they won’t be cutting a player who has a fully non-guaranteed contract.
While Charlotte and San Antonio are the only teams that have to make moves today or tomorrow, we’ll likely see a little more roster shuffling before Monday’s deadline. Players who have been waived by one team might appeal to another club that has an open roster spot or an expendable 15th man. And some teams carrying 15 players may decide to make one more cut to get down to 14.
Additionally, seven teams still have one open two-way contract slot and may look to fill those openings before the season begins. Those clubs are the Celtics, Warriors, Lakers, Magic, Suns, Spurs, and Wizards, as our tracker shows.