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NBA 10 Day Contract: What is It and How does it work?

Contracts and deals in the NBA are pretty complex. A lot of people do not really understand how they work. There are numerous variations of contracts to keep track of in the NBA. An intriguing contract in the NBA is the 10-day contract. 

What is a 10-day contract in the NBA? A 10-day contract is a situation where an NBA team signs a player for 10 days or three matches – depending on the schedule. A team can sign a player for 10 days twice in a season. After the spell ends the team should either buy a player or release him.

10-day contracts are especially prevalent in the second half of the NBA when the season is already peaking. These contracts could seem complicated at the first glance, but we will explain everything in more detail below.

How much does a player earn on a 10-day contract?

This depends purely on the player’s experience. It could start from $60,000 and be as high as $175,000. Of course, a veteran player will earn more than a rookie. Generally, the teams have space for maneuvering, but considering the peculiarities of the salary cap, they sign players on a minimum salary. This is not the general picture, though, as unexpected events can either decrease or increase the salary. From season to season it changes slightly.

What happens after the 10-day contract is finished?

After the first 10-day contract is finished, the team should decide what to do – it should either keep the player for the second 10-day contract, release him or buy for the remainder of the season. 10-day contracts can happen consecutively, or there is also a possibility to have a gap between them. If any of the teams decides to release the player before the expiration of a deal, the salary is still paid.

Why teams sign players for such a limited time?

There are some interesting points regarding the signing of players for 10 days. First of all, it is a brilliant opportunity to deepen the roster and use the purchased player for rotations. Injuries happen frequently in the NBA and having a player who can contribute to the team is vital. There have been cases where players have excelled and managed to establish themselves as one of the leading players in the team.

Secondly, it saves money. Teams are not required to pay a large amount of money and after 10 days they can decide whether it is a good idea to keep a player or not. While it is not a lucrative option from a player’s perspective it benefits teams.

Some players have signed several 10-day contracts. For example, Garret Temple has signed such a contract on 9 different occasions. Temple was undrafted and he was unable to find a proper team.

Notable players on 10-day contracts

While we are mainly talking about the technical characteristics of 10-day contracts, it is important to note some of the talented players that have signed at least one 10-day contract during their careers. Here are some of the most prominent ones:

Shaun Livingston

Everyone remembers Shaun Livingston from the Golden State Warriors, where the player had the most memorable moments of his career contributing to the 3 NBA titles. However, during the 2009/2010 season, he signed 2 10-day contracts with the Washington Wizards and eventually remained with them until the end of that season. In 2014 he moved to the Warriors and the rest is history.

Bruce Bowen

Bruce Bowen was a formidable perimeter defender and he was a nightmare for opponents. Winning 3 championship titles with the San Antonio Spurs, Bowen was instrumental in 2007, where he completely dominated LeBron James, leading to a 4:0 sweep. In 1997 the Miami Heat signed Bowen on a 10-day contract, but the player did not have memorable results in the team.

Kenyon Martin

Kenyon Martin has never been a star player, but he always averaged decent statistics. Having only 1 All-Star selection to his name, Martin was signed on a 10-day contract by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2015. The stint, however, ended without notable results and after that season Martin retired. Martin’s son is also a professional player for the Houston Rockets.

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes is perhaps one of the luckiest players. When the Golden State Warriors signed him in 2017, on a limited period of time, little did Barnes know that he would go on winning the championship title. This was his final year in the NBA and after winning the long-desired championship ring, Barnes retired.

John Salley

Alongside Robert Horry, Danny Green and LeBron James, Salley is one of 4 players to have won the NBA title with 3 different teams. A 10-day contract, which he signed with the Chicago Bulls, is the most interesting one because Salley played with Michael Jordan. He was not instrumental to the team’s success, but after the expiration of a 10-day contract, the Bulls decided to have him for the remainder of the season.

Sundiata Gaines

Sundiata Gaines’ case is something extraordinary. When he signed for the Utah Jazz on a 10-day contract in 2010, he became an unexpectable hero against the Cleveland Cavaliers, making a game-winning shot. The crowd literally exploded. However, in the next season, Gaines was waived from the team.

Lance Stephenson

Known for his eccentric play and behaviour, Lance Stephenson was one of the key members of the Indiana Pacers. After some time, the player’s career started to diminish and in 2017 he signed a 10-day contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, which ended in failure.