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Still waiting for Dale

From Krista Jahnke's Free Press blog:

The thing is, teams have until Saturday to waive players, and team president Joe Dumars is playing a waiting game, eyeing that waiver wire to see if any other big men get released.

That means it could be nearly another week before anything happens. Former Piston Dale Davis is still a possibility, but there is a reason Dumars hasn't pulled the trigger yet. He must think he can do a little better.

His other target, Jamaal Magloire, wound up signing with the Mavericks on Tuesday, so he's off the table. The Celtics, by the way, scooped up another big in P.J. Brown.

There's no real deadline for when the Pistons need to sign that big. And since he won't be expected to play much, except in foul or injury situations, there's no rush.

Actually, there is a deadline: a player needs to be added to the roster by March 1 (Saturday) in order to be eligible for the playoffs.

It's my understanding that a player released by a team needs to be on waivers for 48 hours before he can become a free agent. With that in mind, a player would have to be waived by Wednesday in order to be on a roster by March 1.

That said, I'm admittedly unclear on two points: 1) Is the deadline really by March 1, as in the stroke of midnight? Don't laugh, it makes a difference -- if it's later, say, in the afternoon, a player released on Thursday could still be eligible; 2) Is the deadline actually Monday, March 3 since the league office traditionally closes on the weekends? Or does the league office make an exception and stay open since it's a deadline?

Of course, all of this is moot (I think) if the Pistons actually claim a player off waivers (and assume responsibility for his current contract) instead of waiting until he actually clears (and giving him a prorated share of the veteran's minimum).

If you're confused, join the club; I'm not 100% sure how this works, and judging from the different interpretations I've seen explained elsewhere online, I'm obviously not the only one. The important thing to keep in mind is that whatever the Pistons end up doing, we'll find out for sure by the end of the weekend.

Update: Chris McCosky tried to clear things up in his blog:

Players have to be waived by March 1 in order to be eligible to be on another team's playoff roster. A lot of people get that wrong, including me. You can sign a guy on March 20 and he can still be on the playoff roster -- as long as he was waived by his former team on or before March 1. With Dale, obviously, that rule doesn't apply since he hasn't played all season.

But here's the thing: it seems that Davis' agent is operating under the assumption that his client needs to be signed by Saturday:

Former Piston Dale Davis could re-sign with the Pistons as early as Thursday, according to his agent.

"We're in pretty serious talks with them," said Chubby Wells, Davis' agent. "We hope to have something done soon."

Davis needs to sign with a team by the end of this week in order to be eligible for the playoff roster.

"He'll be signed in time for that," Wells said.

Now, you'd think that the agent (ie, the one with the most to gain by understanding the rules) would be the one that has it right, but who knows? We'll find out soon enough. (Thanks to Warthog and Fadel for pointing those two articles out in the comments)