Fans’ Questions Answered

Photo credit: Joe Allison

A number of exciting announcements for the 2024 Sal’s NBL season have been made in recent weeks, and as you would expect the fans have lots of questions on how the new innovations will work. We’ve heard the chatter and below you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions.  

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered, feel free to direct message or tag us on your preferred social platform @NZNBL and we’ll come back to you with the answer as quickly as we can, or maybe your question will pop up in the next Fans' Questions Answered article. 

Trade Window  

Are three-way trades allowed? 

  • Yes, they are, as long as all incoming players fit within a team’s salary cap space. Trades can involve as many players and as many teams that agree to take part in the activity. 

Can any contract be traded for any contract in the Trade Window? 

  • Incoming and outgoing salary does not need to match, but incoming salary must fit within the remaining salary cap space available.  

What is the deal with the 6.5% Salary Cap increase in the Trade Window? 

  • This increase is a One-Time Only bump to the salary cap and is made available only to teams who add a player onto their roster through the trading process during the trade window. The player a team trades for must come from another team and therefore be contracted to another team. 
  • If a team was at the max of the salary cap prior to the trade, bringing in a player will increase the salary cap available for that team by 6.5%. 
  • Trading a player out to another team does not result in a 6.5% rise to a team’s salary cap, it only applies if you trade for a player that comes into a roster during the trade window. 
  • Trading for and adding multiple players to a team’s roster will not bring multiple increases, it is a one-time only increase. 
  • The 6.5% increase available to a team for bringing in a player is added budget that must be covered by the team itself, these funds are not provided by the League. 

Does a player being traded get a say which team they go to? 

  • Absolutely, 100% yes. The most important rule in the Trade Window is any player being traded MUST agree to the trade.  
  • As a minimum, any traded player must have their contract met, but a greater salary can be negotiated to facilitate a deal. 

Are there any restrictions on how a team can use the additional 6.5% salary cap they receive for trading a player in during the Trade Window? 

  • In short, no. A team might elect to offer the player they are trading in a lift on their current contract.  
  • For example, the team may choose to use the additional cap space to go and recruit another player for the remainder of the season (provided they can play enough games to qualify for finals), or the team could add it to the contracts of other players already on their roster.  

Are relocation costs covered for a traded player? 

  • While not explicitly stated in the League rules, as players must agree to the trade this should be an easily negotiable point to gain a player’s agreement to the trade. 


What are the basic Rapid League rules? 

The game is played over 4 x 4-minute quarters with a stop clock where all normal rules apply (unless stated below). 

  • Teams are in the bonus on the 3rd team foul each quarter. 
  • Players are permitted 5 personal fouls each. 
  • Teams must start a Rapid League game with 5 players on the court and up to 2 players on the bench. 
  • There are no team/coach timeouts permitted, but each team does have access to 1 x Player Only Timeout per half. 
  • If play is tied at the end of regulation time, there will be a 1-minute overtime period played. 
  • If scores are still tied after overtime, subsequent overtimes are played under the same rules. 
  • An overtime period starts from the centre circle with a jump ball. 
  • Only players not selected in the starting five for the following NBL game are eligible to play in Rapid League. Therefore, players rostered 6-12 are eligible to play. 
  • Can Imports play? No, restricted players (imports) are not eligible to suit-up for a Rapid League team as it is a ‘Kiwi Player Only’ competition in 2024. 

If restricted players (imports) cannot play Rapid League, do they have to start for their team in the NBL game? 

  • No, restricted players (imports) do not have to start, but if they come off the bench in the NBL they are not eligible to suit-up for Rapid League, thus limiting the number of players a team will have available for the Rapid League game. 

How does the Rapid League ladder work and do Rapid League results count towards the NBL ladder? 

  • Wins in the Rapid League are solely counted on the Rapid League ladder. The team with the most wins is on top, followed by the next team with the most wins, and so on. 
  • If teams are tied for wins, they are separated by points differential percentage, which is calculated by taking the points a team has scored in games and dividing it by the points the same team has had scored against it in games. 
  • For example, if a team scores 1000 points in Rapid League games and has 900 points scored against it, the points percentage is 111.11% (achieved by dividing 1000 by 900) 
  • The team on top of the Rapid League ladder at the end of the regular season is crowned the Rapid League Champion.  
  • There are no finals for Rapid League. 

If wins don’t count on the NBL ladder, how do Rapid League results come into play for the NBL? 

  • For each team, the points scored for and against in Rapid League will be added to the overall points for and against for the same team on the NBL ladder.  
  • For example, in round one, if the Sharks defeat the Nuggets in Rapid League 50-40, and then the Sharks win the NBL game 100-90, the Sharks total NBL points for will be 150 and total points against will be 130.  
  • The points for and against from all Rapid League games will be applied this way to each team’s NBL points for and against – with the final points differential percentage being the official tiebreaker for teams ending the regular season on the same number of wins in the NBL. 
  • For example, if the Sharks and Nuggets end the NBL regular season on 10 wins and 10 losses, the team with the higher points percentage (points for divided by points against) will be awarded the higher ladder position. 
  • This means that every single bucket scored throughout the 2024 NBL and Rapid League games has the ability to impact the final league standings.  

Can coaches call timeouts in Rapid League? 

  • No, there are no coach/bench timeouts, only the players are allowed to call timeouts in Rapid League (Player Only Timeouts) – the same Player Timeouts as we see in the NBL games. 
  • Remember – during a Player Only Timeout - players on the court cannot come to the bench and subs are not permitted. On the restart, the team in possession can advance the ball. 
  • Coaches are only able to speak with their full team on the bench during the quarter-time and half-time breaks. 
  • No timeouts are allowed in any overtime period. 

Are fans welcome to attend Rapid League games? 

  • Absolutely, yes. Fans will now be able to attend NBL events earlier and get to watch all the Rapid League action as well to make for an even more exciting night of basketball action.  

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