NBA Waiver Order Now Based On 2021/22 Records

As of December 1, the NBA’s waiver priority order is determined by teams’ current-year records, rather than the previous season’s results.

That means, starting today, the waiver order for this season is based on teams’ 2021/22 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 2020/21.

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: 2021/22 NBA Waiver Claims]

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

  1. Orlando Magic (4-18)
  2. Detroit Pistons (4-17)
  3. Houston Rockets (4-16)
  4. New Orleans Pelicans (6-17)
  5. Oklahoma City Thunder (6-14)
  6. San Antonio Spurs (6-13)
  7. Sacramento Kings (8-14)

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 near the top of the waiver order, their ability to claim players is somewhat limited.

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