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Teams With Preseason Cap Decisions

Most NBA teams will have to make a handful of personnel decisions next month, paring down their roster sizes from the 20-player summer max to the 15-man regular season limit. However, just because a camp invitee earns a spot on the regular season roster doesn't mean his contract automatically becomes guaranteed.

For most players on non-guaranteed deals, the date of truth won't come until January 7th. January 10th is the day that all full-season contracts become guaranteed for the season, so if players aren't released on or before the 7th, clearing waivers by the 10th, they'll be assured of a full-season salary. Until that point though, teams can release non-guaranteed players and only pay a pro-rated portion of their salaries.

That January 7th deadline doesn't apply to everyone on non-guaranteed deals though. As our schedule shows, a few players have contracts that specifically included earlier guarantee dates, with many coming by the end of October. So while many teams will only face preseason decisions on who to keep and who to cut, this handful of clubs will be facing decisions on larger commitments. Let's break them down, case by case….

Oklahoma City Thunder: Ryan Gomes
Currently guaranteed for $25,000.
Becomes guaranteed for $50,000 if not released on or before October 1st.
Becomes guaranteed for $75,000 if not released on or before October 30th.

Gomes' bonuses are awfully insignificant in the big picture, but for a small-market team hovering right around the tax line, they're not entirely inconsequential. I imagine OKC will guarantee Gomes at least $50K, allowing him to try to earn a roster spot in October, but if he doesn't impress, the team could save a little cash by cutting him before October 30th.

Denver Nuggets: Quincy Miller
Currently guaranteed for $150,000.
Becomes fully guaranteed ($788,872) if not released on or before opening night (October 29th).

Miller is just entering his second year and is on a minimum-salary contract. We've also seen the Nuggets carry projects at the end of the bench before, such as Julyan Stone. But there's also a new GM and coach in place, and Miller's production last year was extremely limited — he appeared in just seven games for the Nuggets, and didn't blow anyone away in 26 D-League games either (11.3 PPG, .391 FG%). Without an impressive preseason, Miller could be in danger of being cut before Denver's regular-season opener.

Orlando Magic: Kyle O'Quinn
Becomes fully guaranteed ($788,872) if not released on or before opening night (October 29th).

Unlike Miller, O'Quinn gave his NBA team some solid minutes last season, recording a 15.8 PER in 57 contests (11.2 MPG). Based on his rookie season and the fact that the Magic aren't exactly in win-now mode, O'Quinn looks like a safe bet to remain on the regular-season roster and earn a fully guaranteed salary.

Miami Heat: Jarvis Varnado
Becomes guaranteed for $250,000 if not released on or before opening night (October 29th).

Varnado earned a championship ring with the Heat last season, but with the team more conscious of cutting costs due to increasing tax penalties, he may become a cap casualty this time around. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel views Varnado as a long shot to stay with the club long enough to earn that $250K bonus.

Philadelphia 76ers: James Anderson
Becomes fully guaranteed ($916,099) if not released on or before October 31st.

Sixers GM Sam Hinkie nabbed Anderson and Tim Ohlbrecht off waivers from his old team in Houston earlier this summer, and based on Philadelphia's free agent activity since then, there's no reason to think both players don't have a great chance to earn roster spots. A poor camp could derail Anderson's chances, but with the Sixers prioritizing player development over playoff contention for 2013/14, the ex-Spur is in good position for a guaranteed salary for now.

Portland Trail Blazers: Terrel Harris
Becomes guaranteed for $150,000 if not released on or before October 31st.

Because Harris was a throw-in for salary-matching purposes in the three-team deal that also sent Robin Lopez to Portland, it's possible the Blazers always intended to cut him eventually. That became more of a certainty after he was suspended for violating the NBA's drug policy. Now, it sounds like Harris won't even start camp with the team, let alone finish it.

Utah Jazz: Jerel McNeal
Becomes fully guaranteed ($884,293) if not released on or before October 31st.

Despite never actually appearing in a regular-season game, McNeal has spent parts of two seasons on NBA rosters, meaning he could be in line for a fully guaranteed third-year salary before he even makes his NBA debut. And like the Sixers, the Jazz aren't a team that will cut young players to ensure that veterans get playing time, so I would guess McNeal earns a regular-season roster spot, barring a disastrous camp or injury.

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