Darryl Watkins

Free Agents Ineligible To Sign With Specific Teams

Among the myriad rules in the NBA's collective bargaining agreement is a stipulation that says teams that trade players can't claim those players off waivers or re-sign them until the earlier of the following two dates:

  • One year after the trade was completed.
  • July 1st after the player's contract ends.

In some cases, this rule is simple to apply to practical cases. For instance, the Nets traded Mehmet Okur's expiring contract to Portland last March at the trade deadline, and the Blazers waived Okur shortly thereafter. Because Okur's deal was set to expire at season's end, he was ineligible to re-sign with the Nets during last season, but regained that ability as of July 1st, when his contract expired.

Other cases are trickier, however. For example, Derek Fisher was traded to the Rockets by the Lakers last March 15th, and was bought out by the Rockets shortly thereafter. Fisher had a player option on his contract for 2012/13, which raises the question: When exactly is his contract considered to be "over"? In his CBA FAQ, salary cap expert Larry Coon provides an answer:

  • For contracts with options or ETOs, the end date of the contract is interpreted as the June 30th before an option year, and the June 30th after an ETO year.

Fisher's option wasn't an ETO, so the June 30th before his option year should be considered the "end" of his contract, making him eligible to sign with the Lakers beginning in July, right? Well, not quite.

As confirmed by Coon, Fisher's player option for 2012/13 actually was exercised when he worked out his buyout with the Rockets, allowing the team to split his buyout amount in half between the 2011/12 and '12/13 seasons. That means Fisher is still on the Rockets' books for this season, and his contract isn't considered to be over until next June 30th. As such, the earliest date he can re-sign with the Lakers is March 15th, 2013, a year after the trade.

Since players acquired in trades generally aren't waived immediately, this situation doesn't arise all that often. And many of the players who found themselves in such a position have since signed with other teams — for instance, Josh Harrellson was ineligible to rejoin the Knicks after being waived by the Rockets, but ended up signing with the Heat.

By my count, the eight players listed below, plus Fisher, comprise the group of NBA free agents who are currently ineligible to sign with a specific team, but feel free to contact us if there are any I've missed.

Note: Players who were waived via the amnesty clause are also ineligible to re-sign with their old teams until the amnestied contract expires.

Southwest Notes: Mavs, O’Brien, Rockets, Hornets

Let's round up a few items out of the Southwest, which was the NBA's second biggest-spending division in free agency this summer, as we outlined earlier today.

  • The Mavericks have agreed to hire Jim O'Brien, former head coach of the Celtics, Sixers, and Pacers, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein. O'Brien will be Rick Carlisle's top assistant in Dallas.
  • In other coaching news, former Rockets VP of player personnel Dean Cooper will rejoin the club as an assistant coach, tweets Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston.
  • A handful of former NBA players that spoke to John Reid of the New Orleans Times Picayune were positive about the Hornets' direction and future.
  • Darryl Watkins received a shot from the Hornets near the end of the 2011/12 season, but after playing just a few games with the team, it appears he'll be heading overseas for the coming year. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando passes along a report suggesting that Watkins has agreed to sign with a team in Bulgaria.

Sixers Waive Darryl Watkins

The Sixers have waived center Darryl Watkins, tweets SI's Sam Amick.  Philadelphia acquired Watkins as a throw-in in their trade for swingman Dorell Wright, but after then signing Kwame Brown the team apparently had no need for him.  The 27-year-old Syracuse product had only played in 14 NBA games and will now become a free agent looking to latch on with another team.

Warriors Acquire Jarrett Jack; Wright To Sixers

9:26pm: The deal has been finalized, according to a press release by the Warriors. The Warriors receive Jack from New Orleans, the Sixers receive Wright from Golden State and center Darryl Watkins from New Orleans, and the Hornets receive the rights to Bavcic from Philadelphia.  

2:35pm: Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group reports that the deal is getting close, but cautions that it's "fragile" and could fall apart. Still, Jack himself seems to acknowledge he'll be moved, tweeting: "Well new Orleans it's been real like to thank all the fans u treated me great during my time as a hornet. ‪#movingon."

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Hornets Sign Darryl Watkins, Waive Chris Johnson

The Hornets have signed Darryl Watkins to a 10-day contract and waived Chris Johnson, according to Jim Eichenhofer of Hornets.com (via Twitter). John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported earlier today that the injury-ravaged Hornets were expected to replace Johnson with another big man.

Watkins, 27, only played nine regular-season games in his NBA career, way back in the 2007/08 season with the Kings. He has received training-camp invites from a few teams, including the Hornets in 2010. In recent seasons, Watkins has played in the D-League and in various leagues overseas. With less than 10 days remaining in the regular season, The Syracuse product will be eligible for the rest of the Hornets' games, with Chris Kaman and Emeka Okafor out of the lineup with injuries.

Johnson was released by the Trail Blazers along with Greg Oden at the trade deadline to make room for Portland's incoming players. The Hornets claimed Johnson off waivers, but the big man appeared in just seven games for New Orleans before suffering a concussion on April 1st. He hasn't played since.

As Hoops Rumors' 10-day contract tracker shows, Watkins is the sixth player to receive at least one 10-day contract from the Hornets this season.