Several NBA teams typically end up with newly-opened roster spots following the trade deadline. This happens for a variety of reasons. Some teams make two-for-one or three-for-one trades; some acquire players in cap-related deals and immediately cut them; others buy out or release players they weren’t able to move at the deadline.
Whatever the reason may be, there are plenty of available roster spots around the NBA, and it’s a good bet that most of them will be filled before the end of the regular season. Contending teams will want to fortify their depth for the playoffs, while lottery-bound clubs will take fliers on prospects willing to accept multiyear deals that aren’t fully guaranteed beyond this season.
Here, with the help of our roster counts page, is a look at the teams that have open roster spots as of February 14:
Teams with open 15-man roster spots:
- Atlanta Hawks
- Boston Celtics (3)
- Charlotte Hornets
- Denver Nuggets *
- Detroit Pistons
- Houston Rockets
- Miami Heat (2)
- Milwaukee Bucks (3) *
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Orlando Magic
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Toronto Raptors
- Utah Jazz
- Washington Wizards
* The Nuggets (DeMarcus Cousins) and Bucks (Greg Monroe) each have a player on a 10-day contract. We’re counting those roster spots as “open” because Cousins’ and Monroe’s deals will expire this week.
If we count the Nuggets, exactly half of the NBA’s 30 teams have at least one 15-man roster spot available. Twelve of those clubs have a single open roster spot, while the Celtics, Heat, and Bucks have multiple openings.
Since teams are only permitted to dip below 14 players on standard contracts for up to two weeks at a time, Boston, Miami, and Milwaukee will all have to get back to that league-mandated minimum before the end of the month.
The other teams on this list aren’t under immediate pressure to add a 15th man, and some may hold off for a little while for financial reasons — or just to wait to see who else becomes available on the buyout market in the next couple weeks.
Some of these clubs – including the Heat with Caleb Martin, the Pelicans with Jose Alvarado, and the Raptors with Justin Champagnie – might use their open roster spot to promote a player on a two-way contract who has earned regular minutes.
Teams with open two-way spots:
- Boston Celtics
- Dallas Mavericks
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Phoenix Suns
- Utah Jazz
The Celtics (Sam Hauser) and Thunder (Aaron Wiggins) have each promoted a two-way player to the 15-man roster since the trade deadline. The other three teams on this list released a two-way player in January, creating an opening.
In the past, teams haven’t been able to sign players to two-way contracts after January 15, but that restriction doesn’t exist this season, so I expect we’ll see some – if not all – of these teams fill their open two-way slots sooner or later.