To qualify for an NBA retirement pension you need to have played at least three seasons in the league.

What is the last date a player can join a team during the season, and still get credit for that season with respect to pension qualification?

How much of a season must be played for it to count under an NBA pension?

If you have signed a contract for a team for at least one day, you will be credited with a year of NBA service.

What is the last date a player can join a team during the season, and still get credit for that season with respect to pension qualification?

February 2nd, but this explicitly applies to 10-Day and Two-Way contracts.


Years of Service

The 2017 NBA CBA defines "Years of Service":

“Years of Service” means the number of years of NBA service credited to a player in accordance with the following:

  • A player will be credited with one (1) year of NBA service for each year that he is on an NBA Active List or Inactive List for one (1) or more days during the Regular Season.
  • Notwithstanding the above, a player will not receive credit for a Year of Service for any year in which he:

    • (i) withholds playing services called for by a Player Contract or this Agreement for more than thirty (30) days after the Season begins, or

    • (ii) is a Restricted Free Agent, has been tendered a Qualifying Offer by his Prior Team and the Prior Team has extended the date by which the player may accept the Qualifying Offer until March 1 in accordance with the Article XI, Section 4(c)(i), and has not signed a Player Contract with any Team by March 1.

  • In addition, notwithstanding the above, a player will not receive credit for a Year of Service for being on an NBA Active List or Inactive List as a result of signing a Player Contract that is disapproved by the Commissioner.

  • In no event can a player be credited with more than one (1) Year of Service with respect to any one NBA Season.

  • A Year of Service will be credited to a player on the June 30 following the Season with respect to which it is being credited.
  • Under no circumstances shall the definition of Years of Service herein be used for purposes of determining a player’s years of credited eligibility, benefit, and/or vesting service under any benefit plan or program provided for under Article IV of this Agreement, including, without limitation, the Pension Plan, 401(k) Plan, Health and Welfare Benefit Plan (including the Retiree Medical Plan, HRA Benefit, and tuition reimbursement program), or Post-Career Income Plan.
  • Players shall be credited with Years of Service pursuant to this Section 1(iiii) only in respect of Seasons covered by this Agreement. Years of Service credit for Seasons prior to the 2005 NBA/NBPA Collective Bargaining Agreement shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 NBA/NBPA Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Consideration Toward Being On a Roster For a Regular Season

According to Article 4.1 a iv, The NBA CBA defines a cutoff date for consideration toward being on a roster for a regular season, but explicitly states this applies to 10-Day or Two-Way contracts:

The Pension Plan shall be amended to provide that a player shall not be considered to be on the Roster for a Regular Season solely because he was under a 10-Day Contract or Two-Way Contract as of February 2nd of such Regular Season.

Uniform Player Contract

Contracts are further defined here.

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