With just three weeks in the NBA season, most teams across the league have full rosters. Teams still fighting for playoff spots or jockeying for higher seeds may not use all 15 players on their rosters, but they want to be well-stocked in case they need the depth heading into the postseason. Meanwhile, teams out of the running for a playoff spot will often use the last few spots on their rosters to take fliers on younger players and see if they can find a hidden gem before the regular season ends.
Currently, only two teams have open spots on their rosters, as our list of roster counts shows. Those teams are as follows:
- New Orleans Pelicans (13 guaranteed contracts, one 10-day contract): Since sending three guards to Sacramento in the DeMarcus Cousins deal last month, the Pelicans have been shuffling backcourt players on and off the roster in an effort to find good fits. As our 10-day tracker shows, New Orleans has signed six different guards to 10-day contracts since the deadline. One of those players – Jordan Crawford – earned a rest-of-season contract, while another – Quinn Cook – is still on the roster on a 10-day deal. For now, the Pelicans are leaving their final spot open, but that may not last.
- Orlando Magic (14 guaranteed contracts): Orlando is a curious case. Outside of their Serge Ibaka trade with Toronto and a lone 10-day contract for Anthony Brown, the Magic haven’t made any roster moves since waiving Arinze Onuaku prior to the salary guarantee deadline in early January. The Magic were carrying 15 players during those 10 days that Brown was on the roster, but otherwise have left a spot open for the last two and a half months. The club has several young players on its roster that should get playing time down the stretch, so perhaps the thinking is that a 15th man on a 10-day contract would have no role and wouldn’t be worth the modest investment. But it’s still a little surprising that Orlando hasn’t made use of that roster spot.
Meanwhile, the following three teams have full 15-man rosters at the moment, but at least one of their players is on a 10-day contract that will soon expire:
- Brooklyn Nets (14 guaranteed contracts, one 10-day contract): The Nets remain below the salary floor by about $1.235MM, so when Archie Goodwin‘s 10-day deal expires later this week, I’d expect the club to quickly fill that 15th spot. It remains to be seen whether that will mean re-signing Goodwin or adding someone new.
- Dallas Mavericks (13 guaranteed contracts, two 10-day contracts): The Mavericks are a perfect example of a team that used 10-day contracts to find a potential keeper — they struck gold with Yogi Ferrell. Like New Orleans, Dallas has signed six different players to 10-day deals this year, with one keeper to show for it. The Mavs will have to decide next week whether either Jarrod Uthoff or Manny Harris is a keeper, or if they’ll use those two roster spots on new guys.
- Phoenix Suns (14 guaranteed contracts, one 10-day contract): With Eric Bledsoe, Tyson Chandler, and Brandon Knight no longer in the rotation, the Suns are fully in look-at-young-players mode. Jarell Eddie is currently on a 10-day contract with Phoenix, so we’ll see if he sticks.
If one of these teams wants to take a flier on a D-League prospect before season’s end, there is no shortage of options. Pierre Jackson, Keith Benson, Jalen Jones, and Jabari Brown are among the players thriving in the NBADL and earning a shot at an NBA call-up, as Adam Johnson of D-League Digest details.