Hoops Rumors Originals

Community Shootaround: Where Will Tyus Jones Sign?

When we ranked the NBA’s top 50 free agents entering the 2024 offseason, point guard Tyus Jones came in at No. 15. As I wrote at the time, Jones had long been considered one of the league’s best backup guards but showed in 2023/24 that he was able to maintain his strong per-minute production in a starting role.

As the Wizards’ starting point guard, Jones established new career highs in field goal percentage (48.9%), three-point percentage (41.4%), points per game (12.0), and assists per game (7.3) while continuing to protect the ball better than just about anyone in the league. His 1.0 turnover per game in ’23/24 represented the worst mark of his career.

But nearly three weeks into free agency, Jones remains unsigned, with no clear path to matching or exceeding the $14MM salary he earned last season.

When John Hollinger of The Athletic examined Jones’ situation 10 days ago, he wrote, “(Jones) wants to be a starter and wants to do it for a team better than the Wizards, but he might have to settle for 50 percent of those goals.”

That dilemma could be one reason why the 28-year-old remains unsigned, but I’m not sure it tells the whole story. Even if Jones does settle for 50 percent of those goals, he may have to accept a pay cut too. There are few teams around the NBA with the ability to commit $14MM to a free agent, even via sign-and-trade. That includes the Wizards, who could technically re-sign Jones for $14MM (or more) using his Bird rights but are less than $10MM away from the luxury tax line and aren’t about to become a taxpayer for their current roster.

Many of the teams in need of a point guard when the offseason began have addressed the position with other moves. The Spurs signed Chris Paul. The Pelicans traded for Dejounte Murray. The Suns and Bucks, who needed reliable backups and could only offer minimum-salary deals, added Monte Morris and Delon Wright, respectively.

The Magic looked to me like a potential fit for Jones. Even once they’d used up all their cap space, they had the full room exception ($7.98MM) available. Jones could’ve provided a steady, veteran presence in a young backcourt that features promising young guards like Jalen Suggs, Anthony Black, and Cole Anthony but lacks a reliable distributor. However, the Magic – apparently not wanting to bring aboard a player who will take significant playing time away from their younger players – opted to sign veteran point guard Cory Joseph as their 15th man.

There are some other fits that could work for Jones, but many of those teams can only offer the veteran’s minimum, if that. The Heat, for example, could use a play-making guard like Jones to give them an alternative to score-first options like Terry Rozier and Tyler Herro, but Miami doesn’t want to surpass the second tax apron and currently doesn’t have enough flexibility below the second apron to sign a 15th man — even for the minimum.

The Kings are one interesting option. Sacramento has Jordan McLaughlin, Devin Carter, and Keon Ellis behind star point guard De’Aaron Fox, but McLaughlin may be better suited as a third option, Carter is a rookie who is recovering from shoulder surgery, and Ellis isn’t really a true point guard. Jones could make sense as Fox’s backup, but it would probably take a sign-and-trade to get him a reasonable salary and squeeze him in under the first tax apron. I expect the Kings will simply lean on McLaughlin and Malik Monk as ball-handlers when Fox is off the floor.

There are two teams with the cap room necessary to make Jones a strong offer, and both the Pistons and Jazz could theoretically benefit from having a veteran like him around to mentor their young guards (Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Marcus Sasser in Detroit; Keyonte George and Isaiah Collier in Utah).

But it’s unclear if Jones would start on either roster, and he’d be moving from one lottery team to another, which might not appeal much to him. If they want to be involved in the Cooper Flagg sweepstakes, the Pistons and Jazz also may not be eager to upgrade their current rosters any further by signing a solid rotation player like Jones.

It’s hard to find an obvious fit for Jones. There’s certainly no team out there that’s in position to contend, needs a starting point guard, and has the cap flexibility necessary to make him a strong offer. It’s unclear if there’s any club that meets even two of those three criteria.

We want to know what you think. Do you see a good match for Jones out there? Where do you think he ends up, and on what sort of contract?

Head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

NBA Teams With Hard Caps For 2024/25

The NBA salary cap is somewhat malleable, with various exceptions allowing every team to surpass the $140,588,000 threshold once their cap room is used up. In some cases, teams blow past not only the cap limit, but the luxury tax line of $170,814,000 as well — the Suns, Timberwolves, and Celtics are among the clubs who project to have massive tax bills this season as a result of their spending.

The NBA doesn’t have a “hard cap” by default, which allows clubs like Phoenix, Minnesota, and Boston to build a significant payroll without violating NBA rules. However, there are certain scenarios in which teams can be hard-capped.

The league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement has carried over the hard cap rules from the 2017 CBA while also expanding them, adding new scenarios in which teams can face hard caps and creating a second salary level that certain teams can’t exceed.

We went into greater detail earlier this month on how teams become hard-capped, but here’s a brief rundown of the ways it can happen in 2024/25:

  1. A team becomes hard-capped at the first tax apron ($178,132,000) if it makes any of the following moves:
    • Acquires a player via sign-and-trade.
    • Uses more than the taxpayer portion (up to two years, with a starting salary of $5,168,000) of the mid-level exception to sign a player.
    • Uses any portion of the mid-level exception to acquire a player via trade or waiver claim.
    • Uses any portion of the bi-annual exception to sign a player or to acquire a player via trade or waiver claim.
    • Takes back more than 100% of the salary it sends out in a trade (when over the cap).
    • Uses a traded player exception generated during the previous offseason or regular season.
    • Signs a player who was waived during the regular season and whose pre-waiver salary was higher than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($12,822,000).
  2. A team becomes hard-capped at the second tax apron ($188,931,000) if it makes any of the following moves:
    • Uses any portion of the mid-level exception to sign a player to a contract.
    • Aggregates two or more players in a trade for salary-matching purposes.
    • Sends out cash in a trade.
    • Sends out a player via sign-and-trade and uses that player’s outgoing salary to take back a contract (either in the same transaction or in a subsequent transaction via the resulting trade exception).

Given how many ways there are to create a hard cap, most clubs who don’t intend to operate over one of the two aprons will likely end up hard-capping themselves at one or the other.

Some teams will have to be hyper-aware of that hard cap when they consider any roster move for the rest of the season, but for others it’s just a technicality that won’t affect their plans in any meaningful way.

Listed below are the hard-capped teams for the 2024/25 league year, along with how they created a hard cap.

In some instances, a team made multiple roster moves that would have imposed a hard cap (e.g. acquired a player via sign-and-trade and used the non-taxpayer mid-level exception). Only the first of those transactions is noted below, though in some cases a team made two moves within a single transaction to create a hard cap, in which case each relevant move is mentioned.


Hard-capped at first tax apron

These teams will be prohibited from exceeding $178,132,000 in team salary.

Atlanta Hawks

Brooklyn Nets

Chicago Bulls

  • Used the non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Jalen Smith.

Dallas Mavericks

  • Used the non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Naji Marshall.

Golden State Warriors

Houston Rockets

Los Angeles Clippers

New Orleans Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder

Sacramento Kings

Toronto Raptors

Washington Wizards


Hard-capped at second tax apron

These teams will be prohibited from exceeding $188,931,000 in team salary.

Charlotte Hornets

  • Sent out cash in a trade.

Denver Nuggets

  • Used the taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Dario Saric.

Indiana Pacers

  • Sent out cash in a trade.

New York Knicks


No hard cap

  • Boston Celtics
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Miami Heat
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Orlando Magic
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Utah Jazz

This list, which figures to continue evolving, will be updated throughout the 2024/25 league year as necessary. It can be found anytime in the “Hoops Rumors Features” menu on the right-hand sidebar of our desktop site, or in the “Features” menu on our mobile site.

Hoops Rumors Glossary: Rookie Scale

When a player like Zaccharie Risacher enters the NBA, his new team – in this case, the Hawks – can rest assured that there’s essentially no chance of him holding out for a larger contract. That’s because a first-round NBA draft pick is only eligible to sign a rookie scale contract, which limits his leverage and ensures that his draft slot will dictate how much he gets paid.

A rookie scale contract for first-rounders is always for two guaranteed seasons, with team options for the third and fourth seasons of the deal. The scale amount is strictly set by draft position for the first three years of the contract, with the amount of the fourth year determined by a percentage raise on the third-year salary, as RealGM’s rookie scale chart for 2024 picks shows.

Players are eligible to sign for as little as 80% or as much as 120% of the scale amount, though almost every player signs for the full 120%. Earlier this month, Knicks first-round pick Pacome Dadiet became the first player since 2019 to sign for just 80% of his rookie scale amount, and even that rate only applies to his rookie season — he’ll get the full 120% in years two through four.

[RELATED: Rookie Scale Salaries For 2024 First-Round Picks]

Under the NBA’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the rookie scale increases annually at the same rate as the salary cap. In other words, a 5% salary cap increase would mean a 5% increase to rookie scale salaries.

For the 2024/25 season, the first-year rookie scale amount for the first overall pick is $10,474,200. That number increases to $10,998,100 in year two and $11,521,700 in year three, with a 26.1% raise for year four and a 40% increase for a fifth-year qualifying offer. Risacher signed with the Hawks for 120% of that amount, meaning his contract looks like this:

Season Salary
2024/25 $12,569,040
2025/26 $13,197,720
2026/27 $13,826,040
2027/28 $17,434,636
2028/29 $24,408,490
  • Team option in italics
  • Qualifying offer in bold

The scale amounts and fourth- and fifth-year raises vary depending on draft position. Top picks earn the highest salaries, while late first-round picks get the most substantial bumps at the end of their contracts. For instance, the 30th overall pick gets an 80.5% raise between years three and four, with a qualifying offer increase of 60%.

Here are several more details relating to rookie scale contracts:

  • Only first-round picks are eligible for rookie scale contracts. Second-rounders can be signed using the second-round pick exception (or cap room or other exceptions).
  • A team doesn’t have to be under the cap to sign rookie scale contracts. Any team can give a first-rounder a full 120% rookie contract, regardless of its cap status.
  • Because 120% contracts are so common, the cap hold for a first-round pick is also 120% of the player’s rookie scale amount.
  • Bonuses can be included in rookie scale contracts as long as they don’t exceed 120% of the player’s rookie scale amount. It’s relatively common for teams to include likely incentives a player can earn for his participation in Summer League and offseason workout programs.
  • If a player hasn’t signed by January 10, his rookie scale amount begins to prorate downward each day for the remainder of the season until he signs. If there are 174 days in the regular season, the rookie scale amount would prorate downward by 1/174th per day.
  • Teams have until October 31 each year to make decisions on the team-option seasons in rookie scale contracts (or the next business day, if October 31 falls on a weekend). By October 31, 2024, teams will have to decide on the options for the 2025/26 season.
  • Players coming off rookie-scale contracts may be eligible for larger or smaller qualifying offers in their fifth year, based on whether or not they meet the “starter criteria.” We explain the starter criteria in greater detail here.
  • If a team signs a first-round pick within three years of drafting him, the rookie scale for the year in which he signs is used. For instance, Leandro Bolmaro was selected with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2020 draft but didn’t sign an NBA contract with the Timberwolves until the 2021 offseason. As a result, Bolmaro’s rookie scale contract was equivalent to what the No. 23 pick in the 2021 draft received.
  • If a first-round pick signs four or more years after being drafted and his team has cap room, he is eligible to receive a salary greater than 120% of his rookie scale amount. In practice, however, this essentially never happens.

Note: This is a Hoops Rumors Glossary entry. Our glossary posts will explain specific rules relating to trades, free agency, or other aspects of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ was used in the creation of this post.

Earlier versions of this post were published in 2012 and 2019.

2024/25 NBA Roster Counts

Although NBA rosters are limited to 15 players during the regular season, teams are allowed to carry up to 21 players during the offseason. Expanded offseason rosters allow clubs to bring in players on contracts that aren’t fully guaranteed, giving those players a chance to earn a regular season roster spot or getting a closer look at them before sending them to their G League affiliate.

In addition to the usual 15-man rosters, NBA teams are permitted to carry up to three players on two-way contracts. Two-way deals essentially give clubs the NBA rights to three extra players, though they often spend much of the season in the G League rather than with the NBA team. While two-way players don’t count toward the 15-man regular season roster limit, they do count toward the 21-man offseason limit.

Over the course of the 2024 offseason and 2024/25 season, we’ll keep tabs on how many players are on each NBA team’s roster, breaking them down into a few groups. Here are the various categories you’ll find in our list:

  • Official: These players are officially under contract with a given team. The total number of players under contract is listed, with the number of players on fully guaranteed contracts noted in parentheses. So a team with 12 guaranteed contracts, one partially guaranteed contract, and two non-guaranteed deals will be listed as “15 (12).”
  • Two-way: These are players signed to two-way contracts. Unless otherwise noted, these deals are official. You can find a specific team’s two-way players right here.
  • Reported: These are players whose contract agreements have been reported but haven’t been made official. We’re expecting them to be finalized, though it’s possible that some will fall through or were reported erroneously.
    • Note: We won’t be listing Exhibit 10/training camp agreements or including them in our roster counts until they’re official.
  • Unsigned draft picks: Players who were drafted in 2024 and who remain unsigned. These players will be removed if they’re officially confirmed to be spending the 2024/25 season in a non-NBA league.
  • RFA: This player received a qualifying offer and remains a restricted free agent, having yet to agree to a new deal.
  • Total: A team’s total roster count, taking into account all of the above. In some cases, this number may exceed 21, since not all of the players in the categories above are officially under contract.

Here are the NBA’s roster counts for 2024/25, which we’ll continue to update through the rest of the offseason and regular season:

Updated 7-23-24 (8:10am CT)


Atlanta Hawks

  • Official: 16 (15)
  • Two-way: 2
  • Unsigned draft picks: 1 (Nikola Djurisic)
  • Total: 19

Boston Celtics

  • Official: 16 (14)
  • Two-way: 2
  • Unsigned draft picks: 1 (Anton Watson)
  • Total: 19

Brooklyn Nets

  • Official: 15 (13)
  • Two-way: 1
  • Total: 16

Charlotte Hornets

  • Official: 15 (14)
  • Two-way: 2
  • Total: 17

Chicago Bulls

  • Official: 16 (14)
  • Two-way: 3
  • Total: 19

Cleveland Cavaliers

Dallas Mavericks

Denver Nuggets

Detroit Pistons

  • Official: 14 (13)
  • Two-way: 2
  • Total: 16

Golden State Warriors

  • Official: 15 (12)
  • Two-way: 3
  • Unsigned draft picks: 1 (Quinten Post)
  • Total: 19

Houston Rockets

  • Official: 17 (15)
  • Two-way: 2
  • Reported: 1 (Jack McVeigh — two-way)
  • Total: 20

Indiana Pacers

Los Angeles Clippers

  • Official: 16 (15)
  • Two-way: 1
  • Total: 17

Los Angeles Lakers

  • Official: 15 (15)
  • Two-way: 3
  • Total: 18

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Official: 14 (13)
  • Two-way: 3
  • Total: 17

Miami Heat

  • Official: 15 (14)
  • Two-way: 3
  • Total: 18

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Official: 15 (14)
  • Two-way: 3
  • Total: 18

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Official: 14 (13)
  • Two-way: 3
  • Total: 17

New Orleans Pelicans

  • Official: 14 (12)
  • Two-way: 2
  • Total: 16

New York Knicks

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Official: 14 (13)
  • Two-way: 3
  • Total: 17

Orlando Magic

  • Official: 15 (15)
  • Two-way: 1
  • Total: 16

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Official: 12 (11)
  • Two-way: 3
  • Total: 15

Phoenix Suns

  • Official: 15
  • Two-way: 2
  • Total: 17

Portland Trail Blazers

  • Official: 15 (14)
  • Two-way: 2
  • Total: 17

Sacramento Kings

  • Official: 13 (12)
  • Two-way: 3
  • Total: 16

San Antonio Spurs

Toronto Raptors

  • Official: 15 (14)
  • Two-way: 3
  • Total: 18

Utah Jazz

Washington Wizards

  • Official: 16 (14)
  • Two-way: 2
  • Total: 18

How Teams Are Using 2024/25 Bi-Annual Exceptions

The bi-annual exception is one of the tools available to NBA teams who are over the cap, giving those clubs the flexibility to offer free agents more than the minimum salary. In 2024/25, the bi-annual exception is worth $4,668,000 and can be used to offer a deal worth up to $9,569,400 over two years.

However, the bi-annual exception isn’t available to every team. Clubs that go below the cap in order to use cap room lose access to the exception. Additionally, using the BAE imposes a hard cap of $178,132,000 (the first tax apron) on a team. So if a club has surpassed the first apron – or wants to retain the flexibility to do so – it can’t use the bi-annual exception.

Finally, as its name suggests, the bi-annual exception can’t be used by a team in consecutive years. In 2023/24, three teams used the BAE — the Lakers (Taurean Prince), Cavaliers (Ty Jerome), and Raptors (Jalen McDaniels). As such, the exception isn’t available to those clubs during the 2024/25 league year. They’ll be able to use it again next summer.

With all those factors in mind, here’s a breakdown of how teams are using – or not using – their respective bi-annual exceptions in 2024/25:


Available Bi-Annual Exceptions:

Unused:

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • New York Knicks
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Washington Wizards

Although all of these teams technically have the ability to use their bi-annual exceptions at some point in 2024/25, it’s more plausible for some than others.

For instance, the Warriors currently have less than $1MM in breathing room below the first apron, so using even a small portion of their bi-annual exception won’t be an option until much later in the season unless they make a cost-cutting move.

Conversely, the Grizzlies have more than enough wiggle room below the first apron to use their full bi-annual exception, but they also still have their full $12.8MM mid-level exception available — if they need to offer more than the veteran’s minimum to sign a player, it will likely come out of their MLE, preserving their BAE for next season.

Used:

  • Houston Rockets
  • Los Angeles Clippers

Typically, about two to four teams in a given league year use the bi-annual exception, and this season has yet to buck that trend.

The Rockets and Clippers are the only two teams to use any portion of their bi-annual exceptions to date, so they won’t have it available in 2025/26.


Unavailable Bi-Annual Exceptions:

Went under cap:

  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Orlando Magic
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Utah Jazz

These seven teams forfeited their right to the bi-annual exception when they went under the cap and used space this offseason.

Over first apron:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Miami Heat
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Phoenix Suns

In theory, cost-cutting moves by these teams could put them in position to use their bi-annual exceptions. In actuality though, that’s a long shot, especially for clubs like the Celtics and Suns, whose team salaries are well beyond the second tax apron.

Used last year:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Toronto Raptors

As noted in the intro, these are the two teams that used their bi-annual exceptions in 2023/24 and, as a result, won’t have them again until 2025/26.

How Teams Are Using 2024/25 Mid-Level Exceptions

In addition to receiving nearly $141MM in cap room and being allowed to surpass that threshold in order to sign players using Bird Rights or the minimum salary exception, each NBA team also receives a mid-level exception. The value of this exception varies depending on a club’s total team salary.

A team that goes under the cap to use its available cap room, for instance, receives a form of the MLE known as the room exception. An over-the-cap team receives the full mid-level exception, unless that team is also over the first tax apron ($178,132,000), in which case it gets a modest “taxpayer” version of the MLE. A team whose salary is over the second tax apron ($188,931,000) isn’t permitted to use its mid-level at all.

We detailed the exact values of each form of mid-level exception earlier this offseason, but here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Room exception: Can be used for contracts up to three years, with a starting salary worth up to $7,983,000.
  • Full/non-taxpayer mid-level exception: Can be used for contracts up to four years, with a starting salary worth up to $12,822,000.
    • Note: Though its name suggests otherwise, using the non-taxpayer mid-level exception doesn’t mean a team can’t or won’t be above the luxury tax line ($170,814,000) at season’s end; it simply means the team’s total salary can’t surpass the first tax apron ($178,132,000).
  • Taxpayer mid-level exception: Can be used for contracts up to two years, with a starting salary worth up to $5,168,000.

Now that most of the NBA’s teams have used up their cap space, it’s worth keeping an eye on which clubs still have part or all of their mid-level exceptions available, which we’ll do in the space below.

This list will be kept up to date throughout the 2024/25 league year, with new MLE deals added once those signings are officially completed and we confirm the contract details.

Note: After the 2025 trade deadline, the value of the exceptions below will begin to prorate downward.

Here’s where things currently stand:


Mid-Level Exception:

Non-taxpayer: $12,822,000
Taxpayer:
$5,183,000

Teams marked with an asterisk (*) technically have access to the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception but aren’t currently in position to use the entire thing without surpassing the first tax apron.

Atlanta Hawks

  • Used: $0 *
  • The Hawks are currently limited to the taxpayer portion of the MLE based on their proximity to the first apron.

Boston Celtics

  • Used: $0
  • The Celtics are operating above the second apron and don’t currently have access to a mid-level exception.

Brooklyn Nets

  • Used: $0 *

Chicago Bulls

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Used: $0

Dallas Mavericks

Denver Nuggets

  • Used: $5,168,000 (Dario Saric)
  • The Nuggets are operating above the first apron and can’t currently use more than the taxpayer portion of the MLE.

Golden State Warriors

Houston Rockets

  • Used: $0 *

Indiana Pacers

  • Used: $0 *

Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Lakers

  • Used: $0
  • The Lakers aren’t currently in position to use any portion of the MLE due to their proximity to the second apron.

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Used: $0 *

Miami Heat

  • Used: $0
  • The Heat aren’t currently in position to use any portion of the MLE due to their proximity to the second apron.

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Used: $0
  • The Bucks are operating above the second apron and don’t currently have access to a mid-level exception.

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Used: $0
  • The Timberwolves are operating above the second apron and don’t currently have access to a mid-level exception.

New Orleans Pelicans

  • Used: $0 *

New York Knicks

  • Used: $0
  • The Knicks are currently limited to the taxpayer portion of the MLE based on their proximity to the first apron.

Phoenix Suns

  • Used: $0
  • The Suns are operating above the second apron and don’t currently have access to a mid-level exception.

Portland Trail Blazers

  • Used: $0 *

Sacramento Kings

  • Used: $0 *

Toronto Raptors

  • Used: $0
  • The Raptors are currently limited to the taxpayer portion of the MLE based on their proximity to the first apron.

Washington Wizards


Room Exception:

Available: $7,983,000

Charlotte Hornets

  • Used: $0

Detroit Pistons

  • Used: $0

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Used: $0

Orlando Magic

  • Used: $0

Philadelphia 76ers

San Antonio Spurs

  • Used: $0

Utah Jazz

  • Used: $0

Information from CapSheets.com was used in the creation of this post.

2024/25 NBA Contract Extension Tracker

Three 2024 free agents – OG Anunoby, Paul George, and Tyrese Maxey – signed contracts worth more than $200MM this offseason, and they weren’t the only members of the ’24 FA class who secured nine-digit paydays. However, the most lucrative deals signed since the new league year began weren’t free agent deals at all — they were contract extensions.

Extensions, of course, don’t involve adding a new player to the roster. By extending a contract, a team ensures that a current player will remain locked up for multiple years to come. Although a contract extension may not change the club’s short-term outlook on the court, it can have a major impact on that team’s salary cap situation for the next several seasons.

Rookie scale extensions are one form of contract extension. Former first-round picks who are entering the fourth and final year of their rookie deals are eligible to sign those up until the day before the 2024/25 regular season begins. Rookie scale extensions have become more common than ever in recent years — there were 11 signed in both 2021 and 2022, followed by a record 14 in 2023.

[RELATED: Players Eligible For Rookie Scale Extensions In 2024 Offseason]

While they used to be rarer than rookie scale extensions, veteran extensions are happening more frequently these days too. The league’s 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement expanded the rules for eligibility and created some additional incentives for star players to sign new deals before they reach free agency, and the 2023 CBA has further incentivized veteran extensions. During the 2023/24 league year, a total of 17 veteran extensions were signed.

The deadline for a veteran extension for a player who isn’t in the final year of his current contract is the day before the regular season tips off. However, a player eligible for a veteran extension who is on an expiring deal can sign a new contract throughout the league year, all the way up to June 30, the day before he becomes a free agent.

Listed below are the players who have finalized contract extensions so far in 2024/25. This list, which can be found on the right-hand sidebar under “Hoops Rumors Features” on our desktop site (or on the “Features” page in our mobile menu), will be kept up to date throughout the ’24/25 league year, with more extension details added as we learn them.

Note: Projected values for maximum-salary extensions are based on a $154,647,000 salary cap for 2025/26 and a $170,112,000 cap for 2026/27. Those contracts are based on a percentage of the cap, so their values would fluctuate depending on exactly where the ’25/26 and ’26/27 caps end up.


Rookie scale contract extensions:

  • Scottie Barnes (Raptors): Five years, maximum salary (story). Projected value of $224,238,150. Projected value can increase to $269,085,780 if Barnes meets Rose Rule performance criteria. Includes 15% trade kicker. Starts in 2025/26.
  • Cade Cunningham (Pistons): Five years, maximum salary (story). Projected value of $224,238,150. Projected value can increase to $269,085,780 if Cunningham meets Rose Rule performance criteria. Starts in 2025/26.
  • Evan Mobley (Cavaliers): Five years, maximum salary (story). Projected value of $224,238,150. Projected value can increase to $269,085,780 if Mobley meets Rose Rule performance criteria. Starts in 2025/26.
    • Note: Exact terms still to be confirmed.
  • Franz Wagner (Magic): Five years, maximum salary (story). Projected value of $224,238,150. Projected value can increase to $246,661,965 or $269,085,780 if Wagner meets Rose Rule performance criteria. Starts in 2025/26.

Veteran contract extensions:

  • Jayson Tatum (Celtics): Five years, maximum salary (story). Projected value of $313,933,410 (super-max). Fifth-year player option. Starts in 2025/26.
  • Bam Adebayo (Heat): Three years, maximum salary (story). Projected value of $165,348,864. Third-year player option. Starts in 2026/27.
  • Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers): Three years, maximum salary (story). Projected value of $150,316,884. Third-year player option. Starts in 2025/26.
  • Jalen Brunson (Knicks): Four years, $156,549,124 (story). Fourth-year player option. Includes 15% trade kicker. Starts in 2025/26.
  • Derrick White (Celtics): Four years, $118,048,000 (story). Fourth-year player option. Includes $7,840,000 in incentives. Includes 15% trade kicker. Starts in 2025/26.
  • Jonathan Isaac (Magic): Four years, $59,000,000 (story). Includes renegotiation (2024/25 salary increased from $17,400,000 to $25,000,000). $66,600,000 in total new money. Second year of extension partially guaranteed ($8MM); third and fourth years non-guaranteed. Extension starts in 2025/26.
  • Sam Hauser (Celtics): Four years, $45,000,000 (story). Starts in 2025/26.
    • Note: Not yet official. Exact terms still to be confirmed.

How The Sixers Used Every Dollar Of Their Cap Room

It has been rare in recent years for contending teams to operate under the cap in order to pursue star free agents. In each of the four NBA offseasons prior to 2024, between four and eight teams opened up cap room, and the majority of those clubs were coming off losing seasons and weren't going after top-tier free agents.

Prior to 2024, the last time an All-NBA-caliber free agent changed teams using cap room was in 2019, when Kawhi Leonard headed to Los Angeles and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving landed in Brooklyn. Both the Clippers and Nets were coming off winning seasons and viewed their free agent additions as moves that would help push them over the top, cementing their place among the NBA's top tier.

Despite the fact that no team had replicated that free agency feat in five years, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey began heading down that path over a year ago. When word broke in June of 2023 that Philadelphia wouldn't be pursuing a rookie scale extension with rising star Tyrese Maxey, it became clear that Morey's front office was prioritizing 2024 cap flexibility in the hopes of adding another All-Star to the club's core.

Not only did the 76ers achieve that goal, but they cleverly made use of every single dollar of their cap space and their room exception to sign nine-time All-Star Paul George and three additional rotation players while preserving a possible trade chip who could help them further maximize their flexibility.

Let's take a closer look at how the Sixers have navigated the cap and made the math work so far this offseason:


The 76ers had 13 of 16 players from last season's roster become free agents on July 1, as RealGM's transaction log shows, meaning they entered the new league year with just three players under contract: star center Joel Embiid ($51,415,938), backup big man Paul Reed ($7,723,000), and 22-year-old guard Ricky Council ($1,891,857).

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Tyus Jones, Gary Trent, Isaac Okoro Among Top Remaining FAs

The 2024/25 league year began just 10 days ago, but our list of this year’s top 50 free agents has been picked pretty clean. Of those 50 players, 42 have either agreed to deals or officially signed new contracts, leaving just eight still on the board.

Here are those eight players:

  1. Tyus Jones, G
  2. Gary Trent Jr., G
  3. Isaac Okoro, F (Cavaliers RFA)
  4. Luke Kennard, G
  5. Precious Achiuwa, F/C
  6. Markelle Fultz, G
  7. Cedi Osman, F
  8. Gordon Hayward, F

Jones’ ongoing availability surprises me a little, given that he’s coming off a career year. Considered one of the league’s top backup point guards for several seasons, Jones got his first opportunity to be a full-time starter in 2023/24 and delivered — his .489 FG%, .414 3PT%, 12.0 PPG, and 7.3 APG were all career highs, and no one in the league is better at protecting the ball (his 1.0 turnover per game in ’23/24 was the worst mark of his career).

John Hollinger of The Athletic succinctly summed up Jones’ dilemma in free agency this week, writing, “(Jones) wants to be a starter and wants to do it for a team better than the Wizards, but he might have to settle for 50 percent of those goals.”

Of course, a lack of spending power and available roster spots around the NBA is also starting to become an issue for the top free agents left on the board. Only the Jazz and Pistons have significant cap room remaining, with Utah leading the way at about $35MM.

But the Jazz may end up needing about $24MM of that room in order to renegotiate Lauri Markkanen‘s salary up to his maximum next month in order to get an extension done with the star forward. If that’s the plan, they’re not in position to offer a free agent more than about $11-13MM (depending on what they do with a pair of partially guaranteed contracts).

The Pistons used up some of their cap room when they claimed Paul Reed‘s $7.7MM salary off waivers this week. If Detroit wants to free up more space, Reed could always be waived, since his salary is still non-guaranteed. As long as he’s the books, the team could get up to about $20MM by completing Malik Beasley‘s reported one-year, $6MM deal using the room exception instead of cap space.

There are plenty of teams around the NBA who still have the full $12.8MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception on hand, but most of those clubs won’t use it due to financial concerns. For instance, the Pacers haven’t touched their MLE and have an open roster spot, but they’re only about $2.5MM below the luxury tax line, so they’ll likely be inclined to stay out of tax territory. Virtually every other team that still has the full mid-level available is in a similar position and would become a taxpayer if they used their entire MLE.

Jones, Trent, and Okoro presumably all entered free agency hoping to easily exceed the non-taxpayer mid-level exception on their next contracts, but it’s getting harder to see how all of them will get there.

Okoro – a strong wing defender whose offensive game remains a work in progress – is perhaps the most interesting name left on the market. While there are still technically eight restricted free agents still on the board, Okoro is the only one who finished last season on a standard contract rather than a two-way deal, and he’s the only one who seems in line for a sizable payday this summer.

The Pistons were identified on June 30 as a potential suitor to watch for Okoro, who has spent his entire NBA career under new Detroit head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. If their interest is real, they’re in position to put some pressure on Cleveland with an aggressive offer sheet. The Cavaliers aren’t expected to balk at matching an offer in the $12-13MM range, but anything higher than that would put them well over the luxury tax line and potentially even over the first tax apron, so it wouldn’t be a no-brainer.

Trent and Kennard are reliable three-point threats, but don’t bring a whole lot else to the table, which has presumably limited their market. The Grizzlies still appear very interested in bringing back Kennard, whereas the door appears nearly closed for Trent’s return to the Raptors.

The Pistons looked like a potential fit for Trent at the start of free agency, but their deal with Beasley likely rules out the immediate need for another three-point gunner. Trent may have to find a team willing to bring him aboard using a portion of the mid-level exception or via sign-and-trade.

The most likely outcome for Achiuwa still seems to be a return to New York, given that the Knicks need help up front and hold his Bird rights. There hasn’t been much chatter about the remaining three free agents from our top 50 – Fultz, Osman, and Hayward – but I expect them to find NBA deals eventually.

Besides the players listed above, there are plenty of other veterans worth keeping an eye on in free agency, many of whom will likely end up on minimum-salary deals.

Teams in need of a point guard could look to Spencer Dinwiddie or Kyle Lowry, or perhaps to Patrick Beverley or Dennis Smith Jr. if they’re seeking a defense-first player. Sharpshooters like Seth Curry, Doug McDermott, Evan Fournier, and Davis Bertans are still available. So are solid backup wings like Justin Holiday, Lonnie Walker, Josh Okogie, Robert Covington, Jae Crowder, and Troy Brown. Both Morris brothers (Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris) remain unsigned as well, though Markieff appears likely to return to Dallas.

Our full list of available free agents can be found right here.

How NBA Teams Become Hard-Capped

The NBA doesn’t technically have a “hard” salary cap in place that teams are prohibited from surpassing during a given league year. But under the league’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement, there are a ton of different ways that a team can impose a hard cap on itself.

We broke down these rules back in December when we updated our glossary entry on the hard cap, but the rules for last season were a little different than the ones that have taken effect this season. And it’s always helpful to have concrete examples to point to in order to illustrate how these rules work.

So we’re taking a deep dive today into how exactly a team can become hard-capped.

There are two levels at which a hard cap can apply: the first tax apron ($178,132,000 in 2024/25) and the second tax apron ($188,931,000). We’ll start with the first apron.


First apron

A team becomes hard-capped at the first tax apron ($178,132,000) by making any of the following moves:

1. Uses the bi-annual exception to sign a player to a contract or to acquire a player via trade or waiver claim.

This one’s not new, and it’s pretty straightforward. Use any portion of the bi-annual exception for any purpose between July 6 and the end of the subsequent regular season and you’re hard-capped at the first apron.

The Rockets (Aaron Holiday) are the only team to use the BAE so far in 2024/25. The Clippers are expected to become the second once they officially sign Nicolas Batum.

2. Uses more than the taxpayer portion of the mid-level exception to sign a player to a contract.

A team above the first tax apron is permitted to use up to $5,168,000 of the mid-level exception in 2024/25. Use a dollar more than that and the result is a hard cap at the first apron.

Crucially, this restriction applies not just to dollars but to years as well — a non-taxpayer mid-level signing can be for up to four years, but a taxpayer MLE signing can only cover one or two seasons. So signing a player to a three-year contract using the mid-level would hard-cap a team at the first apron, even if the player’s starting salary is only $3MM.

The Mavericks (Naji Marshall) are the only team to use more than the taxpayer portion of the MLE so far in 2024/25. The Clippers, Warriors, and Bulls figure to join that list once Derrick Jones‘, De’Anthony Melton‘s, and Jalen Smith‘s deals are official.

3. Uses any portion of the mid-level exception to acquire a player via trade or waiver claim.

Beginning in 2024/25, the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, the room exception, and the bi-annual exception can be used to acquire a player via trade or waiver claim. However, the taxpayer mid-level exception cannot.

That means if a team wants the flexibility to operate over the first apron, it can’t use its mid-level exception to trade for a player, even if that player is earning less than the taxpayer portion of the MLE ($5,168,000).

This is why, for instance, the Nuggets – who are operating in first apron territory – couldn’t realistically trade for Russell Westbrook ($4,027,525) using their taxpayer MLE (which would hard-cap them at the first apron), but they’re able to use it to sign a free agent (Dario Saric).

4. Acquires a player via sign-and-trade.

This is another pretty straightforward rule, and one that’s been around for a while. No team can operate above the first apron if they’ve received a player in a sign-and-trade deal.

The Mavericks (Klay Thompson), Warriors (Buddy Hield and Kyle Anderson), Nets (Shake Milton), Hawks (Cody Zeller), and Wizards (Jonas Valanciunas) all fit into this category so far, and the Kings will join them when their sign-and-trade for DeMar DeRozan becomes official.

5. Signs a player who was waived during the regular season and whose pre-waiver salary was higher than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception.

It’s important to note that this rule, designed to regulate the buyout market, only applies if the player is waived after the regular season begins. So after Chris Paul ($30MM salary) was cut on June 30, there were no teams prohibited from signing him. But if Paul had remained on that contract and then been waived during the regular season, only teams operating below the aprons would have been permitted to sign him.

The non-taxpayer mid-level exception this season is $12,822,000, so if a player earning even a single dollar more than that amount is waived during the season, this restriction will apply to whichever team signs him.

6. Uses an outgoing player (or multiple players) in a trade for matching purposes to take back more than 100% of the outgoing salary.

It would be simpler to say “take back more salary you send out in a trade and you’re hard-capped at the first apron,” but that’s not quite accurate.

For instance, when a team uses cap room to accommodate extra incoming salary in a trade, no hard cap is created. So the Pistons didn’t hard-cap themselves at the first apron when they traded Quentin Grimes ($4,296,682) and took back Tim Hardaway Jr. ($16,193,183) into their cap space. If the Pistons had been operating over the cap and took advantage of the NBA’s salary-matching rules to trade Grimes for a player earning $6MM, that would have hard-capped them at the first apron. But salary-matching wasn’t necessary to take on Hardaway.

Here’s another exception to the rule. Let’s say the Suns trade Nassir Little ($6,750,000) and in return receive one player earning $6.5MM and another player who is in the second year of a two-year, minimum-salary contract (with a cap hit of about $2.4MM). That’s permitted, even though the Suns are a second-apron team taking on more total money in the deal than they’re sending out. Little is earning more than the first player, and his salary isn’t required for matching purposes for the second player, who can be acquired “separately” using the minimum salary exception.

A team is always permitted to use the minimum salary exception to trade for a player whose contract fits into that exception, regardless of the team’s proximity to the aprons.

Essentially, this rule comes down to whether the team is using its outgoing player(s) for the purposes of matching the incoming salary. If so, the incoming salary can’t exceed the outgoing amount by even a single dollar.

The Wizards (Malcolm Brogdon), Thunder (Alex Caruso), Raptors (Sasha Vezenkov), Pelicans (Dejounte Murray), Mavericks (Thompson), and Warriors (Hield/Anderson) are among the teams who have become hard-capped at the first apron in 2024/25 as a result of this rule (if they weren’t already hard-capped for another reason).

This rule also applies to non-simultaneous trade exceptions. A non-apron team that holds a non-simultaneous trade exception is given a $250K allowance above that exception’s amount, but an apron team isn’t permitted to take advantage of that allowance. Doing so would create a hard cap at the first apron.

For example, when the Wizards acquired Valanciunas via sign-and-trade, they used a trade exception worth approximately $9.8MM to give him a starting salary of $9.9MM, taking advantage of that extra $250K in wiggle room. Exceeding the TPE amount hard-capped them at the first apron, though that hard cap would have existed anyway due to the fact that they were taking on Valanciunas via sign-and-trade.

7. Uses a traded player exception generated during the previous offseason or regular season.

A non-simultaneous trade exception can be used anytime for one year after it’s generated, but that time frame becomes significantly condensed for apron teams. Once a team’s season ends and its offseason begins, a team operating above the first apron is not permitted to use a TPE that was created during the preceding regular season or the previous offseason.

For example, the Heat are currently operating above the first tax apron, which means the two trade exceptions they created last July ($9.45MM for Victor Oladipo and $7.24MM for Max Strus) aren’t available to them, and neither is the $6.48MM exception they generated in January by trading Kyle Lowry. Those TPEs are essentially “frozen” and would become available again if Miami moves below the first apron before they expire.

However, an apron team can use a trade exception if it was created since the regular season ended. The Timberwolves, for instance, generated a TPE worth $2.54MM when they traded Wendell Moore to Detroit. That exception is available to them, but the $4MM TPE they created in February for trading Troy Brown isn’t.

As our tracker shows, the Hawks, Nets, Mavericks, Rockets, and Raptors have each used a trade exception this summer that was generated prior to the end of the regular season, so they’re hard-capped at the first apron for 2024/25 (all five teams also made other moves that resulted in that hard cap).


Second apron

A team becomes hard-capped at the second tax apron ($188,931,000) by making any of the following moves:

1. Uses any portion of the mid-level exception to sign a player to a contract.

The mid-level exception is not available at all to teams operating above the second apron, so a team that uses any portion of it – even an amount well below the taxpayer limit – to sign a player becomes ineligible to surpass the second apron for the rest of the season.

While no team has officially made a taxpayer mid-level signing yet, the Nuggets are on track to do so with Saric (as noted above), which will hard-cap them at the second apron.

2. Aggregates two or more players in a trade for salary-matching purposes.

Aggregating” players doesn’t mean simply including them in the same trade — it means combining their salaries for matching  purposes in that trade. A team operating above the second apron could make a deal sending out multiple players for one, as long as only one of them is required for salary-matching (and the incoming player is earning less than that outgoing player).

For instance, the Suns could send out Little ($6.75MM) and David Roddy ($2.85MM) for one player earning $6.5MM, since Little’s salary matches for the incoming player, so he and Roddy don’t need to be aggregated together.

When the Kings traded Davion Mitchell ($5.06MM) and Vezenkov ($6.34MM) to Toronto in a deal for Jalen McDaniels ($4.52MM), it didn’t hard-cap Sacramento at the second apron because Mitchell and Vezenkov weren’t aggregated — Mitchell matched McDaniels’ lesser incoming salary on his own.

Let’s say Mitchell’s and McDaniels’ salary figures had been flipped, so McDaniels was the one earning a little more. In that scenario, Sacramento likely would’ve opted to aggregate Mitchell and Vezenkov, even though Mitchell’s salary on his own would have been legally enough to match McDaniels’ incoming figure — not aggregating them and using Mitchell as the sole matching piece would have meant the Kings were taking back more than 100% of his salary, hard-capping them at the first apron.

This is the issue the Knicks ran into in their Mikal Bridges trade with the Nets. Bojan Bogdanovic‘s $19MM+ salary was technically enough to legally match Bridges’ incoming $23.3MM figure, but taking back more than 100% of Bogdanovic’s outgoing money would’ve hard-capped New York at the first apron. The Knicks instead chose to aggregate Milton ($2,875,000) and Mamadi Diakite‘s partial guarantee ($1,392,150) with Bogdanovic’s salary to get to $23.3MM and hard-cap themselves at the second apron instead.

It’s important to note that the team’s position relative to the apron upon the conclusion of the trade (not before the trade) dictates this rule.

Let’s say a team is operating $2MM above the second tax apron and wants to aggregate a $15MM player with a $20MM player for a single player earning $30MM. That would be permitted, since the move would reduce the team’s salary by $5MM, bringing it $3MM below the second apron once the trade is completed. The club would then be prohibited from surpassing the second apron again for the rest of the league year.

The Knicks (for Bridges) and the Pelicans (for Murray) are the only teams so far this season who have aggregated salaries in a trade. But New Orleans is already hard-capped at the first apron, so New York is the lone club hard-capped at the second apron as the result of aggregation.

3. Sends out cash in a trade.

This rule is new, but it’s pretty simple. Send out any amount of cash in a trade and you’re hard-capped for the rest of that league year.

This rule goes into effect as soon as the regular season ends, so a team that sent out cash this June became hard-capped for the rest of 2024/25, even though the league year change didn’t technically occur until July 1. The Hawks, Mavericks, and Thunder each sent out cash in June, which would’ve hard-capped them at the second apron for ’24/25 (all three teams made other moves that ultimately hard-capped them at the first apron instead).

The Pacers and Hornets are the only two teams to this point who are hard-capped at the second apron as a result of sending out cash. Several other teams have traded cash but are hard-capped at the first apron for other reasons.

4. Sends out a player via sign-and-trade and uses that player’s outgoing salary to take back a contract.

Under the new CBA, there are restrictions facing not just a team that acquires a player via sign-and-trade but to a team that sends out a player via sign-and-trade. That team isn’t allowed to take back salary using the outgoing signed-and-traded player for matching purposes.

For example, the Timberwolves are currently operating over the second apron, so when they signed-and-traded Anderson to Golden State, they would’ve been prohibited from taking back a player in that transaction using Anderson’s $8.78MM salary as a matching piece.

If the Wolves were to acquire an incoming player in that deal using another legal exception (such as the minimum salary exception or the aforementioned Moore TPE), that would have been permitted. But Anderson’s outgoing salary couldn’t be used to match.

The Knicks (Milton) and the Pelicans (Zeller) are the two teams so far this season that used an outgoing signed-and-traded player for matching purposes in a deal. The Bulls will join them as a result of the DeRozan sign-and-trade.

5. Sends out a player via sign-and-trade and uses the resulting traded player exception to acquire a player via trade or waiver claim.

This is basically the other half of the previous rule. Not only could the Timberwolves not take back salary for Anderson in the same deal in which they signed-and-traded him, but they also can’t use the non-simultaneous trade exception generated by his outgoing $8.78MM salary, even though it was newly created this offseason. Using that exception would hard-cap Minnesota at the second apron for the rest of 2024/25.

Besides Minnesota, only the Pelicans (Valanciunas) have created a non-simultaneous trade exception for a signed-and-traded player this offseason. The Bulls will also have one once the DeRozan deal is official.