Per LA Times reporter Andrew Greif (and Law Murray of the Athletic), the Clippers have extended the contract guarantee date of Jason Preston again, this time all the way to October 1.
Both reporters immediately addressed follow-ups on Twitter about this being a “prove it in preseason” move. Training camp usually starts on September 30 or October 1, and preseason won’t start until October 10, so this date is more about players reporting to camp than anything else. As in, if you make a trade the rest of the offseason, you’d want it to be before October 1 so that the new players have training camp to get acclimated.
Really, this has nothing to do with Preston the player, and everything to do with Preston as a contract. His $1,836,096 contract might not be much, but under the more stringent salary matching rules of the new CBA for second apron teams, it could be helpful. For example, a theoretical Marcus Morris, Amir Coffey, and Terance Mann for James Harden deal wouldn’t quite work due to not enough salary going out. Adding Preston would be just enough.
The Clippers pushing back the date and keeping him around as a non-guaranteed salary thus makes a ton of sense. On Preston’s side, this is a gamble – if he is dealt in a trade, his contract would be guaranteed for however much is needed to make the deal work. That number will be better than nothing at all. And, of course, if his contract is guaranteed on a new team, there’s a chance he sticks around into the season. This is a sign that Preston and his agent are really down on his market (nothing beyond a two-way at the NBA level and nothing lucrative overseas) or really confident that he could stick on another NBA team.
In short, this pushback of the guarantee date for Jason Preston makes it only very slightly more likely he’s on the Clippers for the 2024 season. If the Clippers do a 4 for 1 or 3 for 1 Harden deal and Preston is not involved, it’s theoretically possible he could stick. But as of right now, the Clippers have 15 guaranteed contracts, Moussa Diabate on a two-way, and then Preston. He’s very likely to be traded before training camp, and if he isn’t, he will probably be cut at that point.