While most NBA contracts are guaranteed throughout the entire season, there are a lump sum of players who were given contracts that are non-guaranteed. For the Los Angeles Clippers, guard (and recently activated) Maalik Wayns and veteran Stephen Jackson are two of those players. And with the January 10th deadline coming up for those non-guaranteed contracts to become guaranteed, their current tenure with the Clippers may be coming to an end.
Here is a brief breakdown of how the deadline and cuts work from Mark Deeks of The Score (he also spoke on Jackson/Wayns chances of making it past the cut deadline. Make sure to check that out):
For the vast majority of players, this is no problem, as the vast majority of contracts are always guaranteed for the current season. [Note: the January 10th date of any given season guarantees only the salaries for that season, not for any future ones.] But for those who do not, this week is judgment week. Players have to have not just been waived, but must have cleared waivers by the 10th in order to not have their contracts guaranteed – therefore, with waivers being 48 hours long, players on unguaranteed deals must be waived no later than Tuesday, January 7th, for those savings to be realized.
In the eight games Jackson has played in for the Clippers, he hasn’t been very good (the team has performed well when on the court defensively though). He’s shooting 23 percent from the three-point line and 34 percent from behind the arc. At this point in his career, Jackson’s biggest strength is three-point shooting and if he can’t do that well, he’s basically a wash.
But what we must remember for Jackson’s situation is that he was brought in to be an able body when Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick and every other wing player not named Chris Paul went down with an injury in late November/early December. Barnes has returned and if the timetables play out properly Reggie Bullock and J.J. Redick are on track to do the same. All the named are much better than Captain Jack. Honestly it comes down to the preference for Doc Rivers: either stick with Jack and his “championship pedigree”or go with the rookie in Reggie Bullock who has shown flashes on the defensive end that the Clips could use come playoff time.
With the team over the luxury tax line there’s no reason to pay Jack the minimum to not play.
Wayns has a bigger chance of continuing to stay on this roster than Jackson does. His biggest chance at play would come via injury to Paul/Collison or an incredulous slump to Darren Collison (he’s averaging 10.3 points on 50 percent shooting his last ten, so this seems a bit unlikely), but even then, having a third point guard on the roster is never a bad thing. Wayns is an unproven guard who still has to work out the kinks of his meniscus injury that has had him sidelined for the entire season. As mentioned above with Jackson, ta team over the luxury tax line may not want to bite this salary bullet for a player who will never see the court.
Verdict: CUT, but retained on 10-day contracts