Tony Snell Fails to Sign with NBA Team Before Deadline, Missing Key Year for Retirement, Health Benefits to Help Care for Autistic Sons

NBA free agent shooting guard Tony Snell remains without a team following the league’s contract deadline, leaving the veteran to grapple with the need to secure a deal to safeguard his retirement benefits.

Tony Snell
Tony Snell with his wife and two sons (Photo via Instagram, @hecallsmedora)

As of the official deadline Feb. 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET, Snell had been unsuccessful in finding a team for the remainder of the 2023-24 season. The stakes are high for Snell, who, with a signed contract, could accrue a 10th year of service, a crucial milestone for eligibility in the players union’s retiree benefits program.

Why Benefits Are Important

The retiree benefits program would instrumental in providing healthcare coverage for Snell’s entire family, notably his two sons, Karter, 3, and Kenzo, 2, both diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Snell’s chances of joining a team next season remain plausible, but the longer he remains without a contract the slimmer his odds become. Currently, prospects of reaching his 10th year of service in the league appear uncertain, reports CBS.

Odds Now

Despite several teams maintaining open roster spots for transactional flexibility, signing Snell to a standard contract presents challenges for these teams due to potential luxury tax implications. The dynamics of NBA contracts further complicate Snell’s situation, as there is a specific requirement outlined in the collective bargaining agreement for players to be on an NBA roster for the remainder of the season by a specified date or to have played a certain percentage of games.

The significance of this contractual hurdle extends beyond the immediate season, impacting Snell’s long-term financial security and retirement benefits. Union members typically become eligible for pension and medical benefits after three years of NBA service, with enhanced plans and premium benefits kicking in after completing a seventh season.

Despite not having a signed contract, Snell, who has earned more $53 million in salary over his NBA career, is actively contributing on the court for the G League Maine Celtics, affiliated with the Boston Celtics. The national interest in Snell’s situation has surged, fueled by NBA legend Charles Barkley advocating for an NBA team to sign him. Discussions across prominent platforms and expressions of interest from various clubs in offering short-term contracts indicate a glimmer of hope for Snell’s potential roster placement.

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