The NBA trade deadline for the 2023-24 season is Thursday, Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. ET. But that isn't the last chance for teams to acquire players who can help them down the stretch. Over the past few seasons the buyout market has become increasingly important. What follows is an explanation for how that works and the important dates associated with players who are bought out, specifically how late they can sign and still be on playoff rosters.
Once the trade deadline passes, teams cannot make trades of any kind until the season is over. That said, players can still sign with teams if they are free agents, or if their contracts are either bought out or waived. But there is a deadline for playoff eligibility.
Players must sign with a new team by March 1 to be eligible for the postseason. That is the Playoff Eligibility Waiver Deadline. Any players waived after that point can join a team but they won't be allowed to participate in the postseason. So contenders need to get new players on the roster by March 1 or they won't have them for the postseason.
The most recent buyout success was Markieff Morris who joined the Los Angeles Lakers after beginning the 2019-20 season with the Detroit Pistons. Morris thrived as a reserve in the postseason, hitting 42 percent of his 3-point attempts and was a key defensive cog as the Lakers won an NBA Championship.