NBA teams are permitted to bring 20 players to training camp, though they need to trim their roster down to 17 to begin the season (including a pair of two-way deals). Camp invitees who are not likely to make the team are often signed to summer contracts at some point during the offseason.
The Exhibit 9 provision of the Uniform Player Contract adds limitations to summer contracts and mitigates liability in the event the player gets injured. If a player sustains an injury while under this type of deal, he is entitled to $6,000 whereas a standard contract guarantees salary until the player is recovered or up until the end of the season, whichever comes first.
The Rockets recently pulled a maneuver to include Exhibit 9 language in Shamorie Ponds’ and William McDowell-White’s respective deals. The Rockets converted their standard deals into two-way contracts and then converted them back to standard deals to include the provision.
Teams cannot sign players using Exhibit 9 unless they have 14 players on their roster (not including summer contracts). Houston inked Ponds and McDowell-White earlier in the summer, prior to filling out the roster, so they had to wait to include the Exhibit 9 language.
Teams have access to up to six summer contracts and a deal can contain both an Exhibit 9 and Exhibit 10.
There is no specific salary restrictions or maximum years (outside of the standard parameters) for summer contracts unless the player signing is a veteran who last played for that NBA team. In that case, it must be a one-year, minimum deal. If a summer contract utilizes Exhibit 9, it can only be a one-year deal as well.
Summer contracts do not count toward a team’s salary cap unless the player makes the opening day roster. Players on these deals can be traded, though their salary counts as $0 for matching purposes.