NBA Rosters Nearly Full


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During the offseason, NBA teams can carry as many as 20 players on their rosters, but by opening night each will need to get down to a maximum of 15.

Teams are obligated to have at least 13 players on their roster, meaning the season will start with 390 to 450 players under contract.

Presently, 475 players are signed with teams – 413 have fully-guaranteed contracts, 62 are non/partially-guaranteed.

Of course, a guaranteed contract doesn’t automatically translate into a roster spot.  Players can be bought out, or paid in full but still cut.

The deadline for a team to waive and stretch a player for the 2016-17 season is August 31.  For example, should the Los Angeles Lakers choose to cut and stretch Nick Young before September, they would pay his remaining $11.1 million over the next five seasons at $2.2 million a year.

The Lakers have yet to sign Brandon Ingram and Tarik Black, holding onto a bit of potential cap space should a trade opportunity arise.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will also, eventually, sign Donatas Sabonis.  The Golden State Warriors are reportedly inking JaVale McGee and Elliot Williams.

The Houston Rockets have reportedly agreed to sign four players (Gary Payton II, Kyle Wiltjer, Isaiah Taylor and Bobby Brown), but still have to come to terms with restricted free agent Donatas Motiejunas.

Sooner or later, LeBron James will presumably re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers – along with J.R. Smith, provided a deal can be reached.

Roster space is quickly becoming a premium for any hopeful free agents trying to find a deal.

As detailed by Basketball Insiders’ Jesse Blancarte, some of the top remaining free agents include Ty Lawson, Josh Smith, Lance Stephenson, Mario Chalmers and Jason Thompson – in addition to J.R. Smith and Motiejunas.

Others include Jason Terry, Kevin Martin, Kirk Hinrich, Norris Cole, Jeff Ayres, Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre, Andre Miller, Toney Douglas, Steve Blake, Chris Kaman, Kendrick Perkins and Beno Udrih.

Meanwhile, some teams will need to either find trade partners to trim their rosters down to 15, or they’ll be forced to cut guaranteed salary.

The Boston Celtics have 16 guaranteed players.  The Atlanta Hawks are full at 15, but also have half of Mike Muscala’s $1.0 million salary guaranteed.

Teams with fewer than 15 players include the Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic and Lakers.  The Cavaliers and Thunder aren’t officially at 15, but should be shortly.

Some players are signed with just a small guarantee, which is usually motivation to join their respective team’s NBA Development League franchise (once cut by the parent franchise) as an affiliate player.

The following lists each team’s roster count, as of August 11:

Team Guaranteed Non/Partial Comment
Atlanta Hawks 15 2 Mike Muscala has $508,000 guaranteed.
Boston Celtics 16 2 Someone guaranteed has to go.
Brooklyn Nets 15 3  Beau Beech, Egidijus Mockevicius and Yogi Ferrell are more likely to end up on the Long Island Nets.
Charlotte Hornets 13 3 Two spots available, with Aaron Harrison, Mike Tobey and Treveon Graham hoping to stick.
Chicago Bulls 13 2 Cristiano Felicio and Spencer Dinwiddie may push the Bulls to 15.
Cleveland Cavaliers 11 2 Pencil in 13 guaranteed, with James and Smith.
Dallas Mavericks 14 5 Five fighting for one spot, but the Mavericks have been known to cut guaranteed players.
Denver Nuggets 15 2 No apparent room for JaKarr Sampson and Axel Toupane.
Detroit Pistons 14 2 Lorenzo Brown and Ray McCallum presumably fighting for the final roster spot.
Golden State Warriors 14 0 Still unsigned, McGee and Williams hope to be the Warriors’ 15th.
Houston Rockets 14 0 The Rockets are reportedly signing four to fight for a spot that may ultimately go to Motiejunas.
Indiana Pacers 15 0
Los Angeles Clippers 15 0
Los Angeles Lakers 12 0 One spot open, once Ingram and Black sign.
Memphis Grizzlies 13 6 Vince Carter’s $4.3 million is only $2 million guaranteed.
Miami HEAT 14 4 Briante Weber has $219,000 of his contract guaranteed.
Milwaukee Bucks 13 0 Two spots open.
Minnesota Timberwolves 15 0
New Orleans Pelicans 15 0
New York Knicks 14 3 Ron Baker, J.P. Tokoto and Chasson Randle hope to make 15, but may all end up on the Westchester Knicks.
Oklahoma City Thunder 13 0 In addition to Sabonis, the Thunder are expected to sign veteran Ronnie Price to hit 15.
Orlando Magic 13 0 Two open spots.
Philadelphia 76ers 12 8 Reportedly agreed to sign Cat Barber to a partially-guaranteed deal, but no roster space currently to do so.
Phoenix Suns 13 2 John Jenkins and Alan Williams both may make the regular-season squad.
Portland Trail Blazers 14 2 Luis Montero and Tim Quarterman are vying for the Blazers’ open spot.
Sacramento Kings 14 1 The Kings claimed Lamar Patterson off waivers from the Atlanta Hawks, possibly their 15th player.
San Antonio Spurs 14 3 One of Ryan Arcidiacono, Bryn Forbes and Patricio Garino have a shot to make the roster, but all three may end up with the Austin Spurs.
Toronto Raptors 14 4 Fred VanVleet, Drew Crawford, Yanick Moreira or Jarrod Uthoff may get the Raptors final roster berth; more likely they land on the Raptors 905.
Utah Jazz 14 2 Jeff Withey may have the edge to stick over Christapher Johnson.
Washington Wizards 12 4 The Wizards have three spots, potentially for Jarell Eddie (with a $175k guarantee), Danuel House, Daniel Ochefu and/or Sheldon McClellan.


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About Eric Pincus

Eric Pincus

Eric Pincus is a Senior Writer for Basketball Insiders, with a focus on the business side of the game.

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