Over the weekend, we learned that the NBA intends to give teams a brief window, likely from June 22 to July 1, to convert two-way players to standard deals and otherwise tweak their 15-man rosters. Today, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that the transaction window at the end of June will be open for all 30 teams, not just the 22 resuming play in Orlando.
This is an important point because in a typical season, lottery-bound teams also make roster moves during the final week or two of play, an option that wasn’t available this April. Instead of setting their rosters for the postseason, those clubs at the bottom of the standings are looking ahead to the offseason and the following year, signing players to multiyear deals in the hopes that they’ll become low-cost contributors down the road.
The most obvious example of this form of transaction last season was provided by the Heat, who missed the playoffs but were active during the final week of the season, signing Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson to three-year contracts. The first “year” of those deals only technically lasted a day or two last April, but now Miami has Nunn and Robinson locked up on minimum-salary deals through 2020/21.
Of course, not every lottery-bound team will strike gold with late-season, multiyear signings like Miami did with Nunn and Robinson. But it’s still common for those clubs to use any open roster spots to add players who can be auditioned during the summer and fall.
This summer, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, teams like the Hornets, Cavaliers, Pistons, Timberwolves, and Warriors have available roster spots and could be looking to fill out their 15-man squads with newly-signed players (or converted two-way players). Based on Woj’s report, it sounds like they’ll have at least a week to do so at the end of June. The Knicks, Bulls, and Hawks have full rosters but would also be permitted to make changes if they so choose.
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When Wojnarowski and Marks reported over the weekend on the NBA’s potential pre-offseason transaction window, they noted that only players who were in the NBA, in the G League, or on training camp deals during the 2019/20 season were expected to be eligible. However, I wouldn’t expect that restriction to apply to the eight teams that won’t be resuming play in Orlando.