With Jan. 15 having arrived, reserve wings Armoni Brooks and David Nwaba are now eligible to be traded by the Rockets. Out of Houston’s entire roster, the only player who will not be trade eligible in the weeks leading up to this season’s Feb. 10 trade deadline is Garrison Mathews.
Brooks could not be traded for three months after signing his latest contract, which he did in mid-October. Meanwhile, Nwaba could not be dealt until Jan. 15 based on salary cap rules related to the terms of his new contract with the Rockets, which he signed in the 2021 offseason.
Spotrac’s Keith Smith explains:
When a player is re-signed using Bird or Early Bird rights to a contract that is 20% or greater than their previous deal AND their team is over the cap, those players can’t be traded until January 15. This is because those contracts tie to Base Year Compensation (BYC) rules, which impact how a BYC player’s salary works in trade. In effect, it’s an additional blocker that keeps teams from re-signing and player and immediately trading them.
Now 29 years old, Nwaba is averaging 5.4 points (47.5% FG) and 3.9 rebounds in 14.2 minutes this season, and he’s a valuable and versatile defensive player. Given the combination of his age, the clear rebuilding plan in place with the Rockets, and his fairly reasonable contract, it shouldn’t come as a shock if teams needing wing defense inquire about Nwaba’s availability to Houston general manager Rafael Stone.
An athletic 6-foot-5 wing player, Nwaba will earn $4.7 million in 2021-22 and $5.0 million in next year’s 2022-23 season. His contract also includes a team option for the 2023-24 season at $5.4 million.
The only player on Houston’s current roster who cannot be traded is Garrison Mathews, since he did not sign his new contract until December.