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How the No Trade Clause Works in the NBA


In theory, a no-trade clause is exactly what it sounds like. This gives players the right to refuse – or the obligation to approve, if you prefer – any trade in which they are supposed to be included. In practice, however, they are extremely rare.

How rare? Well, currently there is only one in the NBA, owned by Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards. And there’s never been much more than that on any snapshot since 1980.

In large part, this is due to the details of the circumstances that must arise before a player can be offered one. To be eligible for a no-trade clause in a new contract, a player must have eight years of NBA experience and have spent at least part of at least four of those seasons with the team they sign with. new contract. These are the minimum parameters for eligibility for the no-trade clause, and they must be true at the time of signing the respective contract. If you happen to exceed these thresholds while you are still on a contract in place, you cannot insert one retroactively.

Since this is a time of much greater liberalization, player power growth, and roster rotation than ever before, these circumstances are becoming increasingly rare to find. Players change teams much more often, and although careers last longer due to a better understanding of load management and medical science, players outside the peaks of rotations are replaced more regularly, which is only a fraction of the total NBA players. meet the eight-year criterion. Not to mention the four.

In addition, teams are generally not very encouraged to offer such an instrument. After all, no-trade clauses don’t help them. It takes Beal-esque circumstances — All-Star caliber player, second-most contract, the kind of talent every other team would take in a style of play that should age gracefully, and his outgoing team being lottery regulars having to offer every incentive they could stay ahead of – to ever see one given. They are rare for several reasons.

Yet with all that said, there are two other circumstances in which players have the right to veto – or, if you prefer, the obligation to consent to – any transactions in which they may be included.

One is almost as rare as the conventional no-trade clause. Players who entered restricted free agency, signed an offer sheet with another team, but then matched it through their original team, have the right to veto any trade during the first year of this new contract, in order to have some control over their future that the vehicle of restricted free will seeks to take away from them.

However, this is not something that happens often. Restricted free agency is increasingly something negotiated long before it actually becomes enforceable for a player; indeed, this provision only applies to one player currently, the much-improved (sometimes) Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns. Cumulative total NBA trade vetoes of all kinds currently in effect = two.

The third way is a little more common. In this scenario, players who have signed a one-year contract who will have Larry Bird or Early Bird rights at the end of the season – that is, those who have spent at least two seasons with this team without changing teams as a free agent – has the right to veto any trade he is in. It must be a one-year contract, not the last season of a multi-year contract, and the one-year contract must not include any options for future years.

It’s not exactly a common phenomenon yet, but this third way means that at the time of writing, sixteen other current NBA players have the ability to veto any trades they can. be included. These sixteen are:

  • Kessler Edwards (Brooklyn)
  • Derrick Jones (Chicago)
  • Theo Pinson (dalas)
  • Rodney McGruder (Detroit)
  • Andre Iguodala (golden state)
  • Udonis Haslem and Victor Oladipo (Mami)
  • Serge Ibaka, Jevon Carter and Wesley Matthews (Milwaukee)
  • Nathan Knight (Minnesota)
  • Ryan Arcidiacono (New York)
  • Mike Muscala (Oklahoma City)
  • James Harden (Philadelphia Cream)
  • Bismack Biyombo (Phoenix)
  • Drew Eubanks (Portland; his partial season with the team at the end of the 2021/22 campaign suffices as a “season” for the purposes of assessing his Bird rights status)

If some of these names seem relatively trivial, that’s because they are. But banal can suffice. In February 2008, the Dallas Mavericks had to make two trade attempts for Jason Kidd, because Devean George was included in the first, and he didn’t want to be. Only a trade throw-in that brought Jason Kidd to the Mavericks, Devean George decided he didn’t want to leave Dallas and vetoed the deal, much to the chagrin of concerned fans. It was a legitimate veto, and it was also kind of funny.

Nevertheless, even with these additional examples, commercial vetoes remain very rare. Many of these players have no commercial value, even as purely financial instruments, and even when such opportunities may arise – as seen last season, when injured Solomon Hill could have pitted his veto to the wage dump trade in which he was included – it is almost never invoked.

In Beal’s case, however, this is an important caveat. Every NBA franchise will want him on their team. But, almost uniquely, he will have to want it too.




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