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.

Nuggets C Mason Plumlee undergoes surgery to fix core-muscle injury

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DENVER (AP) — Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee underwent surgery to fix a core-muscle injury.

The team said Plumlee had the procedure performed Thursday morning by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia.

Plumlee is expected to return to basketball activities this summer and be ready for training camp in the fall. He averaged 7.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists for a Nuggets team that narrowly missed out on the postseason.

The 28-year-old Plumlee was acquired by Denver as part of a deal in February 2017 that sent center Jusuf Nurkic to Portland. Plumlee signed a three-year, $41 million deal with the Nuggets last September.

 

PBT Extra: Spurs many off-season questions start with Kawhi Leonard

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San Antonio has a lot of roster questions heading into this summer. When Danny Green opts out at $10 million a year, how much do they offer to bring back a key wing defender? What about Tony Parker, an unrestricted free agent? Will Manu Ginobili come back at age 78 41 for another season?

But at the top of the list: Can the Spurs relationship with Kawhi Leonard be repaired?

If so, do they trust his health enough to offer him the $219 million designated veteran max extension?

If not, do they test the trade market (likely we will know the answer to that around the draft, well before July 1)?

I get into all of it in this latest PBT Extra.

NBA makes it official: LeBron did goaltend on Oladipo’s final shot

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Ultimately, this is moot. Nothing changes — not the critical last Pacers possession, not the fact LeBron James drained a three afterwards (and may well have anyway). All it provides is a little validation for frustrated Pacers fans and players.

Yes, LeBron did goaltend on Victor Oladipo‘s shot with 5.1 seconds remaining in what was then a tie game between the Pacers and Cavaliers. The NBA confirmed it in its Last Two Minute Report on Game 5 in that series. From the report.

“(Above the rim view) shows that James (CLE) blocks Oladipo’s (IND) shot attempt after it makes contact with the backboard.”

Oladipo called it goaltending. However, the officials didn’t call goaltending on the play, therefore it was not reviewable. Often on bang-bang plays like this one an official will call goaltending just to give themselves the chance to review it, but this crew did not (and that is a tough call to make accurately in real time).

From there, LeBron went on to hit the dramatic game-winning three that gave Cleveland the win and a 3-2 series lead.

The report also concluded that it was Thaddeus Young who knocked the ball out of bounds on the baseline with 27.6 seconds left, knocking the ball out of LeBron’s hands. The ball bounced on the line — and was therefore out, but the official didn’t call it — then bounced back up, hit LeBron on the arm and went clearly out of bounds. The referee called the second bounce after it hit LeBron. From the report:

“(Video) shows that Young (IND) deflects the ball away from James (CLE) and it lands out of bounds, but there is no whistle. The ball then bounces and hits James’ arm and lands out of bounds again, which is called. Possession of the ball is incorrectly awarded to the Pacers.”

One other note to Pacers fans: The goaltending call is not why Indiana lost. Oladipo shot 2-of-15 on the night. Darren Collison had a very an off night, was not aggressive, and was 1-of-5 shooting. There are a myriad of plays and decisions that go into a game, one blown call is not why the Pacers lost.

The question is can they regroup at home, get more secondary playmaking and buckets from someone other Oladipo, and can their defense force a Game 7? It can, but they have to put the end of Game 5 behind them first.

Kelly Oubre: Raptors’ Delon Wright ‘doesn’t play well anywhere else, you know, other than at home’

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Delon Wright made some big plays down the stretch to help the Raptors to a Game 5 win over the Wizards last night. With Toronto up 3-2 in the first-round series and the home team winning the first five games, Game 6 is tomorrow in Washington.

Oubre, via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post:

“The next game is a different story. We’re back at home. Just like Delon doesn’t play well anywhere else, you know, other than at home,” Oubre said, sharing inspiration coupled with a touch of an insult. “You can kind of chalk it up as the same story.”

Wright decided not to escalate the conflict when reporters asked him about it.

Wright has been much better in Toronto than Washington in this series. His average game score is 14.7 at home and 5.7 on the road.

But that’s such a small sample. During the regular season, there wasn’t nearly such a big split between Wright’s average game score at home (8.4) and on the road (6.9).

For what it’s worth, Oubre has a somewhat similar home-road average-game-score split, both in this series (9.4 at home, 6.3 on the road) and during the regular season (8.1 at home, 7.5 on the road). Which Oubre basically acknowledged in his diss of Wright/self-own.

This is pretty typical Oubre – hyper-competitive verging on out of control. It’s fun regardless.

Let’s just say he’s right, though, and the Wizards win Game 6. Game 7 would be Sunday in Toronto, where, by Oubre’s own admission, Wright plays well and the Raptors are undefeated in the postseason. Then what?