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April 2, 2021

The NBA Trade Deadline Highlights

The NBA trade deadline in 2021 is the Thursday that comes ten days before the All-Star Game, which puts it on March 25 at 3 p.m. Eastern. The trade deadline is the date and time when all trades before the playoffs must be made in the NBA, so teams looking to build their roster for the playoffs will be going down to the wire on securing some big names.

The NBA trade deadline for 2021 and the salary cap

Teams can replace a traded player for one year after the trade of their contract with one or more players acquired through assignments. The NBA has specific rules for simultaneous and non-simultaneous trades, which can be a bit confusing.

For non-taxpaying teams, traded players can be simultaneously replaced by players received on assignment whose total salaries don’t surpass the greater of either, the lesser of 175% of the players’ salaries being traded plus $100,000 or the wages of the players being traded plus $5 million. The third option is 125% of the salaries of the players being traded plus $100,000.

Traded players can be replaced in a non-simultaneous transaction by players acquired on assignment whose salaries aren’t greater than 100% of the salary of the player being traded, plus $100,000. Teams below the salary cap can get players whose post-trade salaries don’t surpass their salary cap room plus $100,000.


There are some exceptions to these rules. For example, with sign-and-trade transactions, the traded player won’t generate the Traded Player Exception amounts. Teams over the salary cap can enter a sign-and-trade contract with a Bird or Early Bird free agent using that exception.

During the first year of that contract, the player’s salary has to be more than 120% of what they were paid in the previous season. In this scenario, to calculate the team’s Traded Player Exception, the player’s salary will be equal to the greater of either what they were paid in the last season of their previous contract or 50% of their first-year salary under the new sign-and-trade contract.

Teams can’t add exceptions together to acquire or sign a player, although they may use two or more exceptions to acquire replacement players in the same transaction. Teams trading two more players can choose to apply the exception individually to each of the traded players or add together the salaries of multiple players being traded and apply the exception.

Additional rules for sign-and-trade contracts

The NBA also states that teams cannot sign a free agent to agree that the player will be traded later unless the free agent they are signing is their free agent. Additionally, sign-and-trade contracts are only allowed if the agreement lasts three or four years, and the first year is fully guaranteed. The contract also must be entered into before the first day of the regular season, and the player must have finished the previous season on the signing team’s roster.

The most a team can raise a player’s salary on a sign-and-trade contract is 5% of what they were paid in the first year of the contract. After a sign-and-trade transaction, the team will then be “hard-capped” at the “total of the then-current Salary Cap Year plus the Tax Apron Amount.”

Betting on the NBA trade deadline in 2021

Fans headed to the safest betting sites to place bets on which players would get traded and where they would be going. There were plenty of rumors about which players would be traded, like Kyle Lowry, the most well-known player to be headlining reports about the NBA trade deadline in 2021.

Additionally, the introduction of the play-in tournament greatly impacted the trade deadline. It means that this year, there were fewer sellers than ever before. Just a handful of teams are already out of contention for a playoff spot, and some of them had few players to trade or simply wanted to keep their players for next season.

Kyle Lowry ended up not being traded by the deadline to play with the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs. There were rumors about him being traded to the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, and Philadelphia 76ers. 

Other players rumored to be up for trade included Andre Drummond, Victor Oladipo, Norman Powell, and Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic got traded to the Chicago Bulls, while Powell was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. Oladipo went to the Heat, while Drummond stayed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Betting on the NBA playoffs

If you missed the NBA trade deadline in 2021, there is still plenty of time to place bets on playoff games, which will be impacted by the trades made before the deadline. Perhaps the biggest deal of the current NBA season already happened when the Houston Rockets traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in January.

However, there are still several moves that could make a big difference when the playoffs roll around. For example, the Boston Celtics’ odds to win the NBA championship stand at +3,000 if they secure Aaron Gordon from the Orlando Magic. The odds on the team winning the Eastern Conference stands at +1,400, and the odds on it winning the Atlantic Division stand at +5,000.

On the other hand, the Miami Heat’s odds to win the NBA championship if they get Lowry from the Toronto Raptors are +4,600. The odds for the team winning the Eastern Conference are +1,600, and for the Southeast Division, they are +185.

The NBA season may be coming to a close, but there are still plenty of opportunities to place bets on what’s going to happen. The post-season is right around the corner, and the NBA trade deadline will play a significant role in what happens.

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