We are two weeks from Dec. 15, which marks the unofficial countdown to the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline. The majority of free agents signed this past offseason become eligible to be traded, and although teams are still evaluating their rosters, internal dialogue has begun. Teams are discussing what works and what potential changes (some minor) they need.
There hasn’t been a trade in the NBA since Oct. 6, but at the moment, the big focus is in Philadelphia, where the future of disgruntled guard Ben Simmons could lead to a domino effect across the league if the former No. 1 overall pick is indeed traded.
To get a better sense of the 2021-22 trade market, we have broken down the entire player pool into three categories below: expiring contracts, long-term deals and players still carrying trade restrictions.
We’ve organized these tables by player role (franchise centerpiece, All-Star, starter, reserve, etc.), salary and years remaining on their contracts. You can use these tables when attempting to determine which trades are possible across the league — especially because 29 out of the 30 teams don’t have salary-cap space (only Oklahoma City has room) and will need to trade salaries that match within 125%, 175% or $5 million.
Teams such as the Celtics ($17.2, $9.8 and $5 million), Magic ($17.2 million), Pelicans ($17.1 million), Nets ($11.5 and $6.3 million), Thunder ($11.3 million and $9.6 million), Mavericks ($10.9 million), Clippers ($8.3 million) and Jazz ($8.5 million) have large trade exceptions and can can acquire a player without sending back salary because of a previously created trade exception.
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