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Winderman: March 1 big Monday for some players

Feb 25, 2010, 1:58 PM EDT

Monday Monday, so good to me,
Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Monday morning, Monday morning couldn’t guarantee
That Monday evening you would still be here with me.

This year, the Mamas and the Papas will resonate throughout the NBA as much, perhaps even more, than the Moreys and Popovichs.

Monday is March 1, which on the NBA personnel calendar is a date that resonates as significantly as anything this side of the trading deadline.

It also is among the most misunderstood personnel dates.

In order for a player to be playoff-eligible for another team, his current team must request waivers on him by March 1.

Where the confusion enters is that is not the date he must be signed to be playoff eligible.

In fact, as long as a player has waivers requested on him by March 1, he can sign with another team up until before its final regular-season game and be playoff eligible.

For example, Charles Jones was signed by the Rockets on April 22, 1995, the day before Houston’s final game that regular season. He then went on to win a championship ring that postseason with the Rockets.

According to the rule, a team must “request waivers” on a player by the close of March 1 for a player to be playoff eligible for another team. Because the NBA waiver wire is transacted roughly three times a day, usually at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., it is possible that a player could be placed on waivers March 2 and be playoff eligible, as long as his team sent a message to the league by the close of March 1 that it was waiving that player.

The only exception to the playoff-eligibility rule is if a team’s active list is reduced to eight physically able players during the postseason. Then a player can be added regardless.

What it all means is that the clock is winding down for those seeking playoff landing spots, players such as Wizards guard Mike James, who has been granted a leave by Washington and is awaiting his fate at his Houston home. Generally, as the clock ticks closer to midnight March 1, players are more amenable to giving back a bit more for their freedom.

Similarly, players at the end of contracts on going-nowhere teams are more likely to seek buyouts by March 1, with playoff exposure a significant marketing tool during free agency.

Even the timing of Allen Iverson’s endgame with the 76ers could become a factor. While it, indeed, appears Iverson is poised to call it a career, if he is waived by Monday, it still would leave open the possibility of signing with a contender before that team’s final regular-season game and becoming playoff eligible.

And, yes, a player who has not spent a single minute in the league this year could nonetheless return from Europe by April 13 and still find himself playoff-eligible, even if he doesn’t play a single minute in that regular-season finale.

For now, it’s all about the stroke of midnight Monday.

That’s when we’ll know what song playoff hopefuls will  be singing, if, indeed, “Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be.”

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

  1. Joe - Feb 25, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    It truly is amazing how we have taken a relatively simple game and complicated it to such extent that we need lawyers to tell us how the game can and will be played. Just amazing.

  2. Bruce - Feb 26, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    Ira,
    You know all the good stuff. Thanks for digging deep for us poor fans.

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