Can NBA teams trade players during preseason?
NBA teams have the flexibility to make trades at any point leading up to the trade deadline in week 17. But are they allowed to engage in player trades before the start of the season?
NBA trades are perhaps the most byzantine and confusing in all of professional sports, with restrictions on who can be traded and when. With the off-season pretty much the prime time for trading, and in fact, trading is allowed all the way up until the trade deadline in February, why are players not traded in the pre-season?
Apart from the July moratorium, which sees all trading frozen for five days at the beginning of the new hoops year, NBA deals are what the summer is all about. With qualifying offers and waivers leading to stretch provisions, not to mention signing second-round picks, the negotiations are in full steam through August and into September.
Anyone unsigned on September 6 becomes a free agent and deals can still be struck, but by the CBA rules, trading can only take place from the start of the regular season up until the trade deadline in week 17. Since the pre-season is after the cutoff and before the start of the regular season, trades are cut to a drip.
This isn’t to say that teams are prohibited from trading per-se, but with the restrictions placed on all of the summer’s transactions, it is virtually impossible to find a player who qualifies to be traded during that period.
In this landscape, it is a miracle that any player who would be worth trading would be able to satisfy the criteria. But if you have one, good luck to you both.