The bottom of NBA rosters could see a huge upheaval on Tuesday as teams decide whether to guarantee the currently non-guaranteed contracts of 45 players awaiting their fate.
Random Tuesday's in February aren't typically looked at as make-or-break days in the NBA, but this week's day-before-Hump Day is pretty important important for quite a few players at the end of the bench. There are 45 players that will find out if they're going to have their salaries guaranteed for the rest of the season by Feb. 7's close of business.
The lockout delayed quite a few of the important dates this year, allowing the NBA to push the contract-guarantee date to Friday, Feb. 10 -- about one month later than usual. This means, though, that front offices will have until close of business Tuesday to cut players in order to ensure they clear waivers prior to the deadline.
There are currently 432 players on an NBA roster and, unfortunately, that number could be reduced by about 20 or so players as teams decide to go in different directions on Tuesday. Quite a few of them are probably going going to be safe -- Jeremy Lin probably doesn't have to worry about being cut after Monday night's performance -- but that won't be the case surrounding all of the players awaiting their fate.
For reference, there were 50 players in the NBA waiting to find out whether they would have their contracts guaranteed through the end of the season at the beginning of last week. Five of them have already been released prior to the writing of this article, however, leaving the following 45 players in limbo until Tuesday evening rolls around.
The NBA lockout, and ensuing overseas exodus, allowed for a few players that wouldn't otherwise be on an NBA roster get opportunities they were able to take advantage of. They may not have seized the opportunity enough, however, to make sure their contracts are guaranteed for the remainder of the season.
There are a few players that have likely done enough this season to have their contracts guaranteed -- Ivan Johnson and Greg Stiemsma have both done their part to become fan favorites after toiling in the D-League in the past, Lavoy Allen is contributing to the surprising Sixers' start, Jamaal Tinsley recently earned a start for the Jazz, DeJuan Blair is DeJuan Blair and Jeremy Evans can almost literally jump out of a gym -- but there are also quite a few questionable players listed above.
All isn't lost if a player is released, though.
With 10-day contracts becoming an option Monday, there are likely going to be a few players from the above table that are released and re-signed to the newly-available shortened deals as teams attempt to wait as long as possible until completely guaranteeing contracts. Considering there are also a decent amount of similarly-talented players available for a call-up from the D-League, however, it isn't going to be easy for all of these players to quickly end up on another roster if they're released on Tuesday.
All in all, there likely won't be many big names that are released -- as one would well know by looking at the above list -- but a couple of cult favorites could find themselves unemployed for a bit by the time Tuesday comes to a close.