Waiver claims are something of a rarity in the NBA. In order to claim a player off waivers, a team generally must be able to fit the player’s entire salary into cap room, a traded player exception, or a disabled player exception.
Given those limitations, the players most frequently claimed on waivers are those on minimum-salary deals, since any club is eligible to place a claim on those players using the minimum salary exception.
Even then though, there are some caveats — the minimum salary exception can only be used to sign players for up to two years, so the same rules apply to waiver claims. If a player signed a three-year, minimum salary contract, he can’t be claimed using the minimum salary exception, even if he’s in the final year of his deal.
Taking into account all the rules that reduce the odds of a waiver claim – not to mention the limited roster spots available for NBA teams – it makes sense that nearly all of the players who get released ultimately clear waivers. The 2021/22 league year featured a total of just six waiver claims, for instance.
Despite how infrequent they are, we still want to track all the waiver claims that take place during the 2022/23 league year, since you never know which claim may end up being crucial, such as the Pistons‘ July 2019 claim of Christian Wood. Last season, the Lakers‘ claim of Avery Bradley and the Rockets‘ claim of Garrison Mathews were the most noteworthy.
We’ll track this year’s waiver claims in the space below, updating the list throughout the season to include the latest moves. Here’s the list:
- Spurs claim Isaiah Roby from Thunder (July 5) (story)
- The victim of a roster crunch in Oklahoma City, Roby was waived by the Thunder before his salary for 2022/23 could become guaranteed. However, the under-the-cap Spurs didn’t mind locking in Roby’s minimum salary and taking a flier on the young forward, who made the team’s opening night roster.
- Rockets claim Darius Days from Heat (October 11) (story)
- Days was initially on a two-way contract with the Heat, who preferred to give that spot to Jamal Cain. But since the Heat still wanted Days to play for their G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, they converted the forward to an Exhibit 10 contract before waiving him. The Rockets didn’t let Days to get to Sioux Falls though — instead, they claimed him and converted him back to a two-way contract to open the season.
- Heat claim D.J. Stewart Jr. from Mavericks (October 14) (story)
- The Mavericks signed Stewart to an Exhibit 10 contract, but the Heat and their affiliate, the Skyforce, still held his G League rights. So when Dallas cut Stewart ahead of the regular season, Miami placed a claim on him to ensure that he would receive his $50K Exhibit 10 bonus if he reported back to Sioux Falls to start the season. The Heat waived him shortly thereafter.
- Hawks claim Jared Rhoden from Trail Blazers (October 14) (story)
- Like the Heat with Stewart, the Hawks claimed Rhoden for G League purposes. He had been on an Exhibit 10 contract with Portland, but the Trail Blazers are one of two NBA teams without a G League club of their own and had no plans to make him an affiliate player. Rhoden was waived by Atlanta shortly after being claimed, but the College Park Skyhawks – the team’s G League affiliate – selected him in the NBAGL draft.
- Spurs claim Julian Champagnie from Sixers (February 16) (story)
- After promoting Charles Bassey to their standard roster, the Spurs had an open two-way contract slot. Instead of bringing in a free agent, San Antonio filled that opening by placing a claim on former Sixers two-way player Champagnie, who had just been cut by Philadelphia to make room for Mac McClung.
- Spurs claim Sandro Mamukelashvili from Bucks (March 3) (story)
- The Spurs claimed Mamukelashvili, who had been on a two-way deal in Milwaukee, despite both of their two-way slots being full. By immediately converting Mamukelashvili to a standard, rest-of-season contract, San Antonio was able to claim him and move him to the 15-man roster, waiving Isaiah Roby to create room. If the Spurs had wanted to keep Mamukelashvili on his two-way deal or convert him to a contract that covered more than the rest of the season, they would have had to waive one of their two-way players to make the claim.