A lot of people (four) have either e-mailed me about this or asked me about it on t’internet in recent days, about when players have to sign with a new team by in order to be eligible for the playoffs. Apparently there’s some confusion on the issue, particularly surrounding the March the 1st date. So let’s clarify. There is NO SIGN-BY DATE for playoff eligibility. You can sign whenever you want – even on the last of the regular season if you like – and still be eligible for the playoff roster. The only stipulation is that you cannot have been on another team’s roster – or on waivers from another team – at close of business on March 1st. This makes the March 1st date a waive-by date, not a sign-by date. And that’s why players frequently get waived in the run-up to it, (such as Jamaal Magloire, Brent Barry and Flip Murray have so far) then sign with a new team after it, and still appear in the playoffs. An example of this is Anthony Carter last season with the Denver Nuggets. He and Von Wafer both signed with Denver just before the end of the last regular season, because the Nuggets needed some insurance guards for the playoff push and didn’t want to sign them earlier because they were so deep into luxury tax territory. Vaekeaton didn’t then play in a playoff game for them, but Carter did, and the Dallas Mavericks and Kevin Willis did the same thing. So there we go. Fun stuff.
Players acquired via free agency or trade: Chucky Atkins (three years, $9.72 million) Steven Hunter (acquired from Philadelphia) Bobby Jones (acquired from Philadelphia) Players acquired via draft: None Players retained: Anthony Carter (waived, then re-signed, saving about $800,000) Eduardo Najera (opted in) Players departed: Reggie Evans (traded to Philadelphia) Steve Blake (signed with Portland) DerMarr Johnson (signed in Italy) Jamal Samspon (signed with Dallas) Words: When you spend $162 million on only three players in one offseason, you’re generally making a commitment to those as core players. Denver did this last offseason with Nene, Carmelo Anthony and Reggie Evans, investing in two power forwards despite also having the massive contract of Kenyon Martin firmly entrenched at the position, as well as Joe Smith and Eduardo Najera on hand to stand around looking sheepish. When you then trade your only significant expiring contract and both first-rounders this season (and Andre Miller) for soon-to-be-fading star Allen Iverson, you’re making a subsequent commitment to go for it all with what you have. You’re foregoing the few assets you have, placing yourself deep into luxury tax territory to try and put your team over the top. It’s noble. And they could not realistically turn down the Iverson deal because of the small price tag. But, in the short-term at least, it hasn’t really worked. Denver hasn’t had their shooting guard position solved for a number of years. The days of the Kiki Vanderweghe era saw such greats as Predrag Savovic and Vincent Yarborough blemish the position, and while Vanderwghe did pursue a number of options to fill the position (ranging from Manu Ginobili to Clyde Drexler, of all people), the best he could manage was a brief flirtation with Voshon Lenard. New GM Mark Warkentein picked up The Prodigy Formerly […]