In the National Basketball Association (NBA), a trade is a transaction that involves the movement of players from one basketball franchise to another. While players are the primary trade assets, draft picks and/or cash considerations can also be included, or be the basis for the trade to take place. The trade could involve either the swapping of players along with draft picks and/or cash considerations, or only draft picks (protected or otherwise).
NBA trade rules vary for each team depending on whether they're below the salary cap, a non-taxpaying team or a taxpaying team.
A team below the salary cap can execute a trade if the aggregate salaries of the incoming player(s) do not exceed the cap space that the team had plus $100,000.
For a non-taxpaying team (above the salary cap but below the luxury tax threshold), the total salaries of the incoming player(s) in a trade should not exceed the greater of the following two:
• The lesser of (A) 175% of the salaries of the outgoing player(s) plus $100,000 and (B) salaries of the outgoing player(s) plus $5 million
• 125% of the salaries of the outgoing player(s) plus $100,000
For a taxpaying team, the total salaries of the incoming player(s) in a trade should not exceed 125% of the salaries of the outgoing player(s) plus $100,000.
Team can also acquire players through several exceptions, which allow a team's payroll to exceed the salary cap.
NBA trade deadline
Following a directive from the Collective Bargaining Agreement of 2017, the NBA trade deadline for any particular season will be exactly 10 days before the All-Star Game, thereby ensuring that the date would be a Thursday. Based on the same rules, the NBA trade deadline for the 2019-20 season was on February 6, 2020, with the cutoff time being 3 PM ET.
The 2021 NBA trade deadline was an exception to this rule. Due to the condensed nature of the 2020-21 season, the 2021 NBA All-Star Game was held on March 7 while the trade deadline was on March 25 at 3 PM ET. Since no amendments have been made to the aforementioned rule yet, it's safe to assume that the league will return to complying with the same while setting the NBA trade deadline for the 2021-22 season.
NBA sign and trade
The NBA allows teams to sign-and-trade a player, i.e, trade the player after signing him to a contract within the stipulated rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). There is no limit to how many players may be traded in exchange for one - it is only limited by the size of the team’s roster (teams are allowed to have 15 players on their active roster on full contracts and 1 player on a two-way contract between the NBA and the G-League). Chris Paul, for example, was the subject of an 8-players-for-one deal, while in 2007, Kevin Garnett was traded by the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Boston Celtics in exchange for 7 players.
While several interesting sign-and-trades took place, the most interesting one of the lot saw Kevin Durant join the Brooklyn Nets in a move that also featured D'Angelo Russell moving the other way. Another impactful sign-and-trade saw Kemba Walker join the Boston Celtics from the Charlotte Hornets with Terry Rozier going the other direction.
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