TheGP Basketball Hall of Fame
110411demarderozan 110207javalemcgee 120803nbaonnbc
Featured on TheGP Basketball
nash_-_long_goodbye James Harden Kevin Durant

October 2, 2013

James Harden: When Defense Offends

September 23, 2013

Kevin Durant’s Looming Spot in History

September 17, 2013

Remembering T-Mac: What to Make of Tracy McGrady

September 12, 2013

Attitude Check: When Athletes Make Mistakes

September 9, 2013

Canada Basketball approaching Golden Age

August 20, 2013

The Carmelo Anthony Power Forward Experiment

July 26, 2013

Jason Kidd and the Next Generation of NBA Coaches

July 15, 2013

Linconspicuous: How Jeremy Lin will impact the Rockets in 13-14

July 11, 2013

When Juggernauts Fall

July 5, 2013

Under the Microscope: Dwight Howard’s Back Injury

July 1, 2013

Nothing But Nets: The End of an Era in Boston

June 28, 2013

Circle of Life Forges on in NBA

June 26, 2013

Ray Allen Reinvented with Miami Heat

June 18, 2013

Coach of the Year Fired: George Karl and History

June 14, 2013

An Open Letter to Nerlens Noel’s Dumb Hair

The NBA Explained: 10-Day Contracts

by - @TheHek
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Sundiata Gaines, David West, Jarrett Jack

A few weeks ago, the Toronto Raptors added guard Sundiata Gaines to their roster. The move prompted a shared response from Raptors fans throughout the country: “Who the heck is Sundiata Gaines?”

Unfortunately, supporters of the team couldn’t get acquainted with their newest Raptor because he was well gone before such an opportunity was ever granted.

Gaines is a member of a unique fraternity of NBA players; all of whom are bound by a special agreement: the 10-day contract.

The 10-day contract is designed for the so-called journeymen; players more along the lines of freelancers than long-term contributors. As explained by Larry Coon on his NBA salary capwebsite,, the arrangement is a “contract which lasts 10 days (or three games, whichever comes later). A team may sign a player to two 10-day contracts in one season (they may or may not be consecutive). After the second 10-day contract, the team can only retain the player by signing him for the remainder of the season.”

It’s a simple objective: Impress the coaching staff within 10 days or return to obscurity.

There’s no time to settle down. No time to make a nest. No time to find off-court similarities with your teammates. It’s 10 days of extreme commitment, hard work and perhaps a little luck.

There are also some stipulations.

“A team can’t have more 10-day contracts than they have players on their Inactive List,” Coon writes. “10-day contracts are available to be used starting Jan. 5 (or the first business day thereafter) each season.”

The most unique aspect of the 10-day contract is that it only exists in professional basketball. Never has such a treaty been used in football, hockey, baseball or soccer (at least in North America). So why does it only subsist in basketball?

Craig Kwasniewski, co-creator of The Association Blog, feels the 10-day contract is the result of limited roster size and a lack of direct affiliation between the NBA and minor basketball leagues.

“[NBA] rosters cannot exceed 15 players, compared to 55 for the NFL, 24-40 for MLB and 23 for the NHL,” says Kwasniewski. “Plus, the NHL and MLB have one or more minor league teams affiliated with each franchise.”

Injuries also play a role.

“Injuries are part of the game and the limited roster size forces teams to ‘try out’ for spots in case a player is placed on an injury list,” Kwasniewski explains. “In today’s economy, many teams go with rosters of 13 or 14 players instead of committing to 15 guaranteed contracts. So you’ll see a lot of 10-day contract action as injuries mount up.”

Keeping a seat on the sidelines warm seems to be the major responsibility for players on 10-day contracts. The chances of becoming a key contributor – let alone starter – are just as good as winning the lottery, getting struck by lightning and finding Jimmy Hoffa’s remains all on the same day.

But there are rare exceptions.

Kwasniewski points to Anthony Mason and Kurt Rambis, two players who turned 10-day contracts into full-length careers.

For players like Sundiata Gaines, the chances are slim. But they’re willing to take a 10-day contract because they might be that one player out of 100 who blossoms. If they fail, they’ll look for another chance and hope karma is on their side. Their desire outweighs reality.

So next time you see a player on a 10-day contract enter a game, don’t brush them off. You might – and I emphasize might – be watching a potential All-Star.

Eric Rosenhek
has been writing for The Good Point since February 2009. He is also the host and producer of Definitely Not JaysTalk.

Comments are closed.

The Good Point Staff
The Good Point Contributors

Launched in 2008, The Good Point is a feature-based digital magazine that prides itself on long-form, essay-style journalism. With a primary focus on the North American market and over 50 writers across the continent, the publication’s central theme ranges from sports medicine to sports humor and everywhere in between. By emphasizing creative story telling and a tiered-editorial process, TheGP marries behind the scenes access at the professional level with the passion and enthusiasm of the fans that fuel the industry. With an archive growing deeper by the day and a reputation of compelling content sweeping the sports media landscape, once you’ve said The Good Point, you’ve said it all.

Austin Kent

Rob Boudreau
Associate Editor

Andrew Bucholtz
Associate Editor