Winderman: March 1 big Monday for some players

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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.

Dwyane Wade with dagger dunk to seal Bulls win vs. Suns (VIDEO)

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The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.

The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.

The Bulls won 128-121. Devin Booker led the Suns with 27.

DeMarre Carroll shoves Isaiah Thomas to ground on break, tempers flare

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Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll picked up a deserved flagrant for this foul.

With a couple of minutes left to go in the second quarter, Isaiah Thomas made the steal when DeMar DeRozan lost the ball on a drive, and Thomas was off to the races. Trying to prevent a lay-up, Carroll decided to foul Thomas far from the basket, but did so with a forearm shove that sent Thomas sprawling on the ground.

Thomas got up and had words, as did Jae Crowder.

Carroll got a flagrant and a technical, Thomas and Crowder each picked up technicals for jumping in.

Seth Curry puts up career high 31 against Timberwolves (VIDEO)

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When Stephen Curry wore a headband through the All-Star Game last weekend, West coach Steve Kerr jokingly called him “Seth” all night.

Dallas’ Seth Curry came out of the week-long break playing like an All-Star. He dropped 31 on the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night, a career high for him. He hit 13-of-17 from the field, including three from beyond the arc, but did a lot of his damage in the midrange.

It wasn’t enough, the Timberwolves got a comfortable 97-84 win behind 27 points from Andrew Wiggins and 26 from Karl-Anthony Towns. Nerlens Noel was not yet with his new team in time to play for the Mavs in this game.

Spurs kick off rust from layoff to beat Clippers 105-97 in Chris Paul’s return

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard dunks during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points despite foul trouble and the San Antonio Spurs shook off the rust from a nine-day layoff to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-97 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Pau Gasol added 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench in his return from a 15-game absence because of a fractured finger. LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dewayne Dedmon grabbed 12 rebounds.

Blake Griffin scored 29 points for the Clippers, who have dropped consecutive games to the league’s two winningest teams since the All-Star break ended. They lost by 10 points at Golden State a night earlier. The Spurs have the league’s second-best record at 44-13.

Chris Paul added 17 points in his return after missing five weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb.