Making Trades through DBF Editing

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It is possible to trade players simply by editing a few fields in players.dbf, achieving the same effect as making trades from within the game without causing any damage or loss of data. In a nutshell, this involves changing the attributes that assign a player to a team's roster as well as his contract to the team's payroll and reordering the roster if desired.


This tutorial applies to the following games:

You will need...

  • [DB Commander
  • A knowledge of NBA Live's DBF files
  • A backup in case anything goes wrong

Making trades

The first thing you should always do before modifying any DBF files is to make a backup so that no data is lost should the file become corrupted in the editing process. As you will be modifying a saved roster or Dynasty game, the file you need to open will be stored in one of your saves folders. The name of the save folder will depend on the name you gave it (eg MYROSTER, MYDYNASTY) or in earlier NBA Lives, the save slot number (000, 001, etc).

The field you will be editing first is the TEAM attribute. This is the value that assigns a player to a specific team's roster and may vary depending on which instalment of NBA Live you are editing (or a chart of Team ID numbers for each game in the series, please consult the individual DBF Editing Guides). Trading players involves swapping the TEAM values for two (or more) players so that they are assigned to the opposite team.

For example, if you wanted to trade Kobe Bryant for Ray Allen in NBA Live 07, you would need to edit their TEAM attribute so that Kobe was assigned to the Supersonics (Team ID 26)and Allen was assigned to the Lakers (Team ID 12). To achieve this, all you need to do is locate the entries for both players and enter the new value accordingly. Players can be located through searching by any criteria of your choosing, however searching in the surname (NAME) field is usually the most effective.

Now that you have assigned the players to a new team, you will need to assign their contract to their new team's payroll. This must be achieved by editing another attribute whose name varies depending on the game you are editing:

Once again you must swap the values between the players you are trading. Using our earlier example, Kobe's new SALARYTEAM/CASH_TEAM value would be 26 (Seattle) and Allen's new value would be 12 (LA Lakers).

The final step involves reordering the rosters. This may not always be necessary, particularly in the case of our example as Kobe Bryant and Ray Allen both have the same roster position (Starting Shooting Guard) by default, hence simply swapping their team and salary assignment fields will allow them to trade places without causing any problems in either team's lineup. However, if you are trading players who are assigned to a different roster position you will have to modify the lineups to ensure they are suitable (eg players starting at their appropriate positions) and that no two players on the same team share the same ROSTERPOS value. For more information, please see this article.

Trading multiple players involves the same process and is simply a matter of making the above changes for all players involved. Please note that multi-player trades usually require more work to be done when it comes to reordering the roster, so you may want to jot down the names of the players on both teams and the roster position (ROSTERPOS) you wish to assign them so that no two players on the same team share the same value and the lineups are desirable. Please also note that a team may only have a maximum of 15 players, so make sure your deal follows this rule; trading through the DBF will not circumvent this restriction.

Congratulations! Next time you enter the game and reload your saved file, you will have successfully completed a trade through DBF editing!

Practical Use

Although this method does allow the user to cheat by making unfair deals that the CPU would normally reject, it can also be used to achieve realism by completing trades that reflect deals that have been made in real life.