NBA AM: Almost Time To Guarantee NBA Contracts

NBA teams have some decisions to make and as many as 49 players could find themselves waived this week… Trades are not easy to make on your timeline.

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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Decision Time:  As of today NBA teams are now permitted to sign 10-day contracts, which means a number of teams have to decide if the roster spots they current have occupied are worth the cost.

January 10 is last day NBA teams can waive their non-guaranteed or partially-guaranteed players and avoid fully guaranteeing their contracts on January 10. While the 10th is the day contracts get locked in for the season, teams need the three days between the 7th and the 10th to ensure waived players clear the NBA waiver process.

While not all non-guaranteed or partially-guaranteed contracts will get waived (actually most don’t) there are several that might.

Here are the 49 players that fit into that category:

Mike Muscala Atlanta Hawks $408K guaranteed
Jerome Jordan Brooklyn Nets $100K guaranteed
Brandon Davies Brooklyn Nets No guarantee
Darius Morris Brooklyn Nets No guarantee
Cory Jefferson Brooklyn Nets $75K guaranteed
Jason Maxiell Charlotte Hornets No guarantee
E’Twaun Moore Chicago Bulls $425K guarantee
Nazr Mohammed Chicago Bulls No guarantee
Lou Amundson Cleveland Cavaliers (traded to Knicks) No guarantee
A.J. Price Cleveland Cavaliers No guarantee
Alex Kirk Cleveland Cavaliers (traded to Knicks) $65K guarantee
Charlie Villanueva Dallas Mavericks No guarantee
Erick Green Denver Nuggets $50K guaranteed
Leandro Barbosa Golden State $150K guaranteed
Justin Holiday Golden State $35K guaranteed
Patrick Beverley Houston Rockets No guarantee
Luis Scola Indiana Pacers $940K guaranteed by Indiana & $559K guaranteed by Houston
Shayne Whittington Indiana Pacers $25K guaranteed
Jared Cunningham LA Clippers (traded to 76ers) No guarantee
Wayne Ellington LA Lakers $581K guaranteed
Ronnie Price LA Lakers $658K guaranteed
Tarik Black LA Lakers $50K guaranteed
Justin Hamilton Miami HEAT $612K guaranteed
Hassan Whiteside Miami HEAT $100K guaranteed
James Ennis Miami HEAT $300K guaranteed
Andre Dawkins Miami HEAT No guarantee
Jeff Adrien Minnesota Timberwolves No guarantee
Glenn Robinson III Minnesota Timberwolves $250K guaranteed
Luke Babbitt New Orleans Pelicans $100K guaranteed
Dante Cunningham New Orleans Pelicans No guarantee
Travis Wear New York Knicks $62K guaranteed
Samuel Dalembert New York Knicks $1.98M guaranteed
Lance Thomas Oklahoma City Thunder (traded to Knicks) No guarantee
Ish Smith Oklahoma City Thunder No guarantee
Dewayne Dedmon Orlando Magic $250K guaranteed
Robert Covington Philadelphia 76ers $400K guaranteed
Henry Sims Philadelphia 76ers No guarantee
Hollis Thompson Philadelphia 76ers No guarantee
Malcolm Thomas Philadelphia 76ers No guarantee
Jakaar Sampson Philadelphia 76ers $50K guaranteed
K.J. McDaniels Philadelphia 76ers No guarantee
Eric Moreland* Sacramento Kings $200K guaranteed
Amir Johnson Toronto Raptors $5M guaranteed
Greg Stiemsma Toronto Raptors $25K guaranteed
Toure’ Murry (waived) Utah Jazz $250K guaranteed
Joe Ingles Utah Jazz No guarantee
Patrick Christopher Utah Jazz No guarantee
Rasual Butler Washington Wizards No guarantee
Glen Rice Jr. Washington Wizards $400K guaranteed

* Due to injury, Eric Moreland’s full contract value is guaranteed as he will not return before the guarantee date. He can still be waived, however his full contract of $507K is locked in.

It is worth noting that while Houston’s Patrick Beverly makes the list because of his contract structure, it’s nearly impossible to think the Rockets would waive him. The same is likely true of Amir Johnson in Toronto and Luis Scola in Indiana.

It’s also worth noting that some teams may opt to waive a player to avoid fully guaranteeing his contract, yet look to bring that player back on a series of 10-day contracts after that player clears waivers.

Teams tend to do that to preserve roster flexibility and sometimes reduce cost on fringe players they are still not sold on.

Teams are permitted to issue two 10-day contracts before needing to fully guarantee a player for the balance of the season or release him into free agency.

Timing Of A Trade:  Yesterday Cleveland Cavaliers’ General Manager David Griffin spoke with the press about a number of issues, one of which was his team’s desire to add to the roster.

Griffin was honest about his team’s willingness to deal, but reminded the media that just because his team wanted to make a deal didn’t mean the other side of the equation was ready.

“We’re very actively working the phones and doing everything we can to improve the team,” Griffin said. “At the same time, unfortunately our timing doesn’t always match the timing of everybody else. Until the trade deadline, people typically don’t have a lot of reason to do anything in a specific time. So we’re doing what we can and certainly working every angle we can.”

It’s commonly believed that trades are easy to consummate – when in actuality that’s rarely the case, unless you have an asset other teams covet.

A good example of that was Boston opting to put Rajon Rondo on the market. He was a player many teams had interest in so Boston was able to generate a trade fairly quickly.

That’s the exception, especially when dealing with less than marketable assets.

Most teams find themselves in the same situation as Cleveland. They have interest in making a trade, but may not have a partner willing to complete the deal.

Most in-season roster changes are shuffling bench players around. Occasionally an upper tier player get shopped around, but for the most part its moving a guy from the end of the bench to another team, and while there may be some level of need or urgency on one side, on the other is it really worth shaking up the chemistry?

Eventually teams have to look at their roster from a business perspective and that usually happens closer to the trade deadline, where teams try to cash out unwanted assets or try to pick up something to help them going forward.

As Griffin explained the environment, everyone tends to believe their assets are worth more than they actually are.

“At times like these, everybody is hoping their assets are worth more than they really are,” Griffin said. “I’m probably no different. I’m hoping that our DP (Disabled Player Exception) and TP (Traded Player Exception) are attractive but we won’t really know until we get to the point where somebody is willing to act.”

The key phrase in that is “where somebody is willing to act.”

The lack of a trade is usually not about desire to make a change or willingness to move a player; it’s usually about finding a partner. Not everyone is ready to deal yet. The ones that are, are usually buyers, teams looking for something to improve their roster. The sellers usually wait until the market gets a little more aggressive, namely so they can extract the best return on an asset.

So when you ask yourself ‘why doesn’t Team X make a trade?’ it’s likely because they can’t find a dance partner.

To spin it another way, it sort of like trying to find a girlfriend or a boyfriend; if you decide tomorrow to demand one, you might not find anything worth having or worse yet, how does desperation play in the match making scene? It’s basically the same concept in trying to consummate a trade.

You have to wait for the right partner and that doesn’t always line up with the time line you might want or expect.

The NBA trade deadline in February 19 at 3pm EST, so teams have roughly 45 days to dance this one out before they have to do something.

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Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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