NBA Dates, Deadlines To Watch In January

At the start of the 2023/24 campaign, we looked ahead and identified several dates and deadlines to watch on the NBA calendar this season. While that list covered the general highlights, it’s worth taking a closer look at some of those key dates to keep an eye out for in January, which should be a busy month.

Let’s dive in…

Non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed

January 10 is the date that all non-guaranteed NBA contracts for 2023/24 will officially become guaranteed, but January 7 is really the day to watch.

If a team wants to avoid having a salary become guaranteed, the player must clear waivers before January 10, which means he needs to be cut by January 7 — at the latest.

Many players without fully guaranteed salaries are in no danger of being waived by next Sunday, but some teams will take the opportunity to save a little money and open up a roster spot.

It’s worth noting that players on two-way deals (which are non-guaranteed) are subject to that January 7 waiver deadline as well, and will have their salaries become fully guaranteed if they’re still under contract as of January 8.

In past seasons, the salary guarantee date for players on two-way contracts has been January 20, but that changed in the NBA’s latest Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Teams can begin signing players to 10-day contracts

As of January 5, clubs will be able to sign players to standard 10-day contracts, which count against team salary for cap and tax purposes and require an opening on the 15-man roster to complete.

Prior to January 5, teams were able to sign players to 10-day contracts only if they qualified for a hardship exception. As our 10-day contract tracker shows, only the Grizzlies have met that bill so far this season.

Rebuilding teams generally use 10-day contracts to audition G League standouts or other prospects to see if they might be worth investing in beyond this season. Contending clubs are more inclined to use 10-day contracts to bring in veterans who can step in right away to address a need or provide depth at a position hit hard by injuries.

Currently, nine teams have an open spot on their 15-man rosters, making them candidates to sign a player to a 10-day deal. That number could increase after next weekend’s salary guarantee deadline.

More players become trade-eligible

A significant portion of the NBA’s offseason signees became eligible to be traded on December 15, but there are still many players who can’t be dealt. By the end of January, that list of players ineligible to be traded will shrink further, since there are 24 players currently on track to have those restrictions lift between now and January 31.

January 15 is the key date, with 17 players becoming trade-eligible as of that Monday. That group includes some players who almost certainly aren’t going anywhere, but a handful of players on the list could be involved in trade rumors in 2024, including some who have already been popular subjects of speculation. Jerami Grant, Kyle Kuzma, Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, and Miles Bridges are some of the headliners.

A number of other offseason signees have unique trade-eligible dates in January, since they signed as free agents in October or inked a veteran extension in July. That list features names both big (like Domantas Sabonis) and small (such as Ish Smith). Notably, Jordan Clarkson and Dejounte Murray, who have each been at the center of some trade speculation, will become trade-eligible on January 7 and Jan. 9, respectively.

Last day to apply for a disabled player exception

January 15 is the last day that teams can apply for a disabled player exception to replace an injured player who is deemed unlikely to return this season.

A disabled player exception can give a club extra cap flexibility, but not an extra roster spot, so they often go unused. So far this season, the Bulls, Grizzlies, and Trail Blazers have been granted DPEs, while the Knicks have reportedly applied for one.

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