All NBA players that are on a contract past Jan. 10 become fully guaranteed for the rest of the season, no matter the initial terms of the agreement, according to the collective bargaining agreement.
That means the deadline to waive a player before his contract fully guarantees is Jan. 7 at 5 p.m. EST because the player has to clear waivers, which takes 48 hours. As a result, any player who isn't waived by Jan. 7 at that hour becomes fully guaranteed for the rest of the season, even if his guarantee date hasn't technically hit.
That's the mark that Derrick Walton Jr. reached this week, when the unexpected 15th addition to the Clipper roster avoided waivers and earned a guaranteed contract for the remainder of the season.
The Clippers were delighted for Walton to earn his paycheck and spoke highly of their young point guard.
Patrick Beverley compared Walton to himself at practice Thursday. "You get a guy like Derrick Walton, scratching and clawing for everything he's earned," Beverley said. "For him to get into a position where he has a guaranteed contract, from that standpoint, I'm very familiar with it."
Walton has appeared in 19 games this season and has played 205 minutes, exceeding the 147 minutes he played with the Miami Heat in his rookie season. The Clippers have a plus-1.4 net rating when Walton is on the floor, and he's particularly impactful in increasing the team's free-throw rate. Given that Walton doesn't get fouled much himself, that probably means that he finds his teammates in the right places to beat the defense and thus earn trips to the free-throw line.
It should be noted that Walton's guaranteed contract does not preclude the Clippers from waiving him later in the season, potentially to make room for a free agent like Darren Collison or because of an imbalanced trade. It just means that if Walton is waived, he will still receive the entirety of his contract.
While Walton was taking the next step in his NBA career, Paul George was taking another step into superstardom with the release of the PG4, the fourth iteration of his signature shoe with Nike.
Paul George wore the first shoe from the PG4 collection in the Clippers' win over the Knicks, showing out for 32 points on 14 shot attempts in its debut. He will wear a Gatorade colorway for the first time in the Clippers' matchup against the Golden State Warriors Friday.