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.

Joel Embiid says Michael Jordan isn’t the GOAT (VIDEO)

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Joel Embiid is a big man like we haven’t seen in some time. He’s both an interior force and a range shooter, and is one of the more talented 7-footers in recent NBA memory.

So it makes sense that the Philadelphia 76ers star leans toward former big men when it comes to discussing the greatest players in league history. While most are obsessed with the back-and-forth between Michael Jordan and LeBron James, Embiid told Jason Concepcion of the Ringer this week that he didn’t think either were the best player ever.

To Embiid, Wilt Chamberlain is the true GOAT.

Via Twitter:

“He’s not the GOAT. To me, you got Wilt Chamberlain. I mean he has all the records. They’re never gonna be beaten. I don’t see anybody getting 100 points in a game. That’s it, he’s the GOAT.”

Chamberlain doesn’t seem to be brought up in the GOAT conversation much anymore, but his prowess was legendary and it’s mistaken to say that he only played against smaller, less athletic white players.

It’s sort of cool that Embiid decided to choose a different player as is greatest of all time. Whether or not that’s true — or whether Embiid truly believes in his choice — is another thing altogether.

LeBron James confirmed ‘Space Jam 2’ begins filming this summer (VIDEO)

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I’m not sure how excited I am to watch “Space Jam 2”. I think LeBron James is a slightly better actor than Michael Jordan, and the original “Space Jam” was nothing to shake a stick at. I’m the perfect age for Space Jam to have meant something to me, but having watched the film as an adult I can tell you it’s largely underwhelming.

Still, Space Jam 2 is set to film this summer and we finally have a confirmation of that fact from LeBron himself.

Speaking at All-Star Weekend, James told a crowd in Charlotte that they are indeed going to film once the season is over.

Via Twitter:

I think filmmaking has evolved, particularly animated filmmaking in the wake of things like Toy Story, Shrek, and other big franchises. There is no doubt that Space Jam 2 will be a better movie than the original. The director of the film certainly thinks so.

Kids will love it, and it’s exactly the kind of thing that James want to get involved in when he moved to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer.

I’m sure that basketball Twitter will have a steady stream of opinions when it comes out in theaters. Maybe I will catch it when it’s on at Netflix a month later.

Report: Celtics aren’t long-term destination for Anthony Davis

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Anthony Davis recently made mention that all 29 NBA teams other than the New Orleans Pelicans are on his list to land when he becomes trade eligible again this summer. Teams like the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Clippers will vie for his services with the best packages they have the to offer.

But which of these teams will be long-term solutions for Davis, whose current contract runs out in the summer of 2020?

That is likely to be where the conversation around Davis shifts as we move into the spring. In fact, according to Shams Charania, at least one interested team isn’t on Davis’ radar long term.

Via Twitter:

Davis and agent Rich Paul severely overplayed their hand when it came to negotiating a trade request with the Pelicans as they tried to steer Davis to the Lakers before the deadline.

New Orleans remains firmly in control of Davis and any offers for him, although it’s possible the player could retain some additional influence by making it known that he would not re-sign anywhere outside of his preferred destinations. According to Charania, that’s the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, and Bucks.

Still, a player’s status as a potential risk in free agency is affected by how good he is and how close to a championship the receiving team thinks they are. We saw a Toronto Raptors take a chance with Kawhi Leonard, who could very well leave this summer.

Might a team trade for Davis without the guarantee that he could leave in 2020? That seems possible, and I wouldn’t rule out anything wild happening in trade market come summer.

Pat Riley on LeBron leaving Miami: ‘I saw a dynasty fly out the window’ (VIDEO)

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LeBron James spent just four years with the Miami Heat, grabbing two championships with pals Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. LeBron then left South Beach to bring a title to his native Ohio with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James is now part of the Los Angeles Lakers, an organization that Miami Heat president Pat Riley is innately familiar with (Riley was on the coaching staff of the Lakers from 1979-90). Riley was famously upset when he took the podium in the summer of 2014 after James had informed him that he was not going to come back to Miami.

We are approaching the half-decade mark from that interaction, and Riley appears to have cooled off a little bit.

Speaking with ESPN’s Dan LeBatard, Riley said that he felt disappointed because of how long a tenure that Heat team could have had.

Via Twitter:

I’m not sure if it’s fair to say that Miami you would have been a “10-year team”. Chris Bosh last played in February of 2016, and Wade hasn’t been a starter-level player for some time.

Still, it’s true that if LeBron would have stayed in South Beach that the Heat would be a perennial Eastern Conference Finals team and perhaps a real dynastic challenger to the Golden State Warriors.