At this point in the NBA offseason, most teams are carrying 14 and 15 players on guaranteed salaries. The clubs with 14 guaranteed contracts on their books will likely either enter the season with an open roster spot or allow camp invitees to compete for that 15th-man role. Teams with 15 players already on guaranteed deals have their regular-season rosters all but set already.
Still, several teams around the NBA have more than 15 or fewer than 14 fully guaranteed salaries on their cap for now. Using our roster counts tool, here’s a look at those teams, with details on what they might be thinking as the 2018/19 season nears:
Fewer than 14 guaranteed contracts:
- Houston Rockets (11 guaranteed contracts): In addition to their 11 fully guaranteed contracts, the Rockets also figure to hang onto Michael Carter-Williams, who has a significant partial guarantee. Second-round pick De’Anthony Melton is a good bet to sign a guaranteed contract at some point too. That would increase the Rockets’ roster count to 13, with Zhou Qi the most likely candidate for the 14th spot.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (12): While they only have 12 guaranteed salaries on their books for now, the Cavaliers figure to increase that count by two once they officially sign David Nwaba and bring back Rodney Hood.
- Miami Heat (12): The Heat continue to wait on Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem to make decisions on whether or not they’ll continue their respective careers. They’ll be penciled in to the 13th and 14th spots if they elect to return.
- Minnesota Timberwolves (12): Although he only has a partial guarantee, James Nunnally is a safe bet to make the Timberwolves’ roster as the 13th man. It’s not clear what the team intends to do with its last opening or two.
- New Orleans Pelicans (12): Only 12 Pelicans have fully guaranteed salaries, but there are several legit NBA players – Emeka Okafor, DeAndre Liggins, Jahlil Okafor, and Troy Williams – vying for roster spots on non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts. At least two of them figure to make the team.
- Atlanta Hawks (13): The Hawks will increase their roster count to 15 guaranteed salaries once Vince Carter and Daniel Hamilton make their deals with Atlanta official.
- Golden State Warriors (13): The Warriors plan to enter the season with 14 players under contract, leaving a spot open for flexibility. Their 14th man will likely be Patrick McCaw, who is still a restricted free agent for now.
- Toronto Raptors (13): The Raptors may enter the season with a 14-man roster. Lorenzo Brown is currently the top candidate for that 14th spot, though Chris Boucher and others could provide competition.
More than 15 guaranteed contracts:
- Sacramento Kings (16): When the Kings took advantage of their leftover cap room to sign Nemanja Bjelica and Yogi Ferrell, it created a roster crunch. If the club doesn’t trade a player before the season begins, Iman Shumpert, Kosta Koufos, Ben McLemore, and Deyonta Davis are among the release candidates on the roster — all four are on expiring contracts.
- Los Angeles Clippers (15 + Patrick Beverley): The Clippers technically only have 15 players on guaranteed salaries, but Beverley, who is on a non-guaranteed deal, will probably make the team. Assuming he does, that will mean trading or releasing another player, perhaps Wesley Johnson or Jawun Evans.
- Memphis Grizzlies (15 + Andrew Harrison): Like Beverley in L.A., Harrison is on a non-guaranteed salary, but may not be expendable. If he remains on Memphis’ roster, the Grizzlies may end up releasing Dakari Johnson.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.