NBA Trade Rules

The NBA Trade Rules are a set of guidelines that teams follow to trade players and assets with one another. It is important for people who love the sport and want to know how trades work in the National Basketball Association, to understand these rules. In this blog post, we will go over some history about trades from the past. As well as what types of trades can be made between two teams during a season.

What is a Trade in the NBA?

Trade in the NBA is when two teams trade players and assets with one another. The NBA allows for three different types of trades: pre-arranged, simultaneous, or after the season has ended.

Different Types of Trades in the NBA

Pre-Arranged Trades

The first type of trade is a pre-arranged trade which can be done between any number of teams that have enough cap space to fit in all positions on both rosters at once. These types of deals must happen between June 30th and July 15th every year.

Due to salary cap rules regarding resigning current free agents during those dates; however, these deals cannot include players who were recently drafted by the team they are being traded from. As well as draft picks (the exception is if it’s their pick). 

Simultaneous Trades

The second type of trade is simultaneous trade. And it’s when two teams with matching pieces (i.e., same contract) agree to make the transaction at the time of their choosing.

But they must notify both players involved in the deal simultaneously as well as respective owners within 24 hours; this requires that each team has enough cap space for all positions on its roster. Or can work out different salary implications if needed.

These types of trades are rare because it’s unlikely that every piece matches up between two rosters unless there were recently waived/released by one club or traded from the said franchise.

After The Season Trade Deadline

Lastly, after the regular season ends which takes place from April until June. Teams can make a trade after the season ends to fill needs that they couldn’t beforehand. This is when it becomes easier for NBA teams to re-sign their free agents. As well as bring in other players from outside of their respective organizations if needed or desired.

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types of nba trades and rules

Trades During The NBA Season

In terms of what types of trades take place throughout an NBA regular season and playoffs. There are also three distinct categories: player swaps, cash considerations, and future considerations.

Player Swap

A player swap is when two teams agree to essentially give one another equal value on both sides by swapping contracts with each other instead of salary implications; this occurs between different positions due to either height or skill set requirements being met.

Cash Considerations

Cash considerations happen when one team pays part, or the entire salary of one player to receive another contract from a separate team.

Future Considerations

Lastly, future considerations are when two teams exchange contracts for players with each term being determined at a later date by both sides; this is usually done as an incentive if it’s within six months of receiving a said contract.

Additional Rules

Additionally, some rules must be followed whenever trades take place between NBA franchises including any traded draft picks or cash involved cannot go back until after 12 months have passed since the initial deal was made.

This helps create parity throughout the league. Because no single franchise can hoard all of its drafts picks and then use them on promising young stars before trading those same pieces away. Essentially creating dynasties – every year around Draft Day.

What Are the Trade Rules?

The NBA trade rules consider any time during the year when a player changes hands from one team to another, as a trade. The most common type of trades in the NBA is between two teams and involves players or assets being exchanged.

In these types of transactions, both teams have to follow certain guidelines that are set by the league. Because it’s important for them to maintain good relationships with each other so they can continue making deals together in future seasons.

Draft Day Trades

Trades also happen around Draft Day every season. Which involves draft picks going back and forth between two cities. Without involving actual players on either roster at this point. These kinds of moves do not require approval from both parties. But there must be parity within these exchanges or else they could be considered invalid.

The 24-Hour Window

When it comes to players, the NBA requires teams involved in trades with each other to make their transactions official within 24 hours of one another; this gives both sides time to discuss compensation and any potential deals that could happen afterwards during free agency. Or even next season when these types of moves are much more likely.

No Cash Involved!

NBA trade rules also dictate that no two teams can agree on a deal involving cash because it has to go straight between accounts without an intermediary party being involved so there is never confusion about what was exchanged for what else.

Review of Trades By The NBA

Furthermore, trading future considerations is not allowed by the league. Unless they have been reviewed by them beforehand which ensures nothing underhanded happens throughout transactions made midseason rather than prior ones over Draft Day because it’s much harder to hide when the NBA is watching.

The Scope of the NBA Trade Rules

The NBA trade rules are extremely important for both players and teams. Because they ensure that everyone involved in transactions between organizations remains on equal footing. Which helps maintain relationships throughout the league so no one feels cheated by another party or taken advantage of due to a lack of knowledge about how certain things work within these kinds of deals.

Why Are Trades Crucial to the NBA?

All of these different types of trades are incredibly important for all parties involved. Because they can help franchisees get rid of underperforming or overpaid players while also bringing in possible stars that could turn their fortunes around by way of a simple transaction.

Trading is at its best when both sides win and it’s made easier with the guidelines we have today; however, there have been some shocking deals throughout history as well. Including one between two teams right here in our city!

Shocking Trades in NBA History!

nba trade rules & shocking trades

Philadelphia 76ers Trade Wilt Chamberlain to Los Angeles Lakers

In 1968, the Philadelphia 76ers traded Wilt Chamberlain to the Los Angeles Lakers for three players and $150.000 in cash. Which is a move that shocked many people because it was made during an era of time when rumors about trades weren’t as prevalent and often went under-the-radar until they happened; this ended up being one of those rare occasions where no one saw it coming!

San Antonio Spurs Trade Dennis Rodman to Chicago Bulls

In 1995, the San Antonio Spurs traded Dennis Rodman to Chicago Bulls for Will Perdue which was shocking because it involved two players that were big contributors to their teams at the time and had no reason being moved around in trade – especially since they both helped lead their respective franchises to championships!

Charlotte Hornets Trade Kobe Bryant to Los Angeles Lakers

In 1996, the Charlotte Hornets traded Kobe Bryant to Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac which was a shocking trade because it took place during his rookie season after just only three games played which made it seem like a knee-jerk reaction from the Hornets’ front office after seeing what kind of player he was capable of being.

Cleveland Cavaliers Trade LeBron James to Miami Heat

In 2010, the Cleveland Cavaliers traded LeBron James to Miami Heat for a combination of players and draft picks which was shocking because it happened during his tenure with them when he had just led them to their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history – even though they didn’t win.


In conclusion, trading is an integral part of success within any sport but especially so in basketball where certain positions require specific skillsets from its players.

Knowing the rules behind these deals can help you have a better understanding of how trades are made in the NBA and what could come from them for all involved parties.

What was the best trade you’ve ever seen in the NBA? Let us know in the comments below!

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