Protected list projections

How do teams go about deciding who to protect for the expansion draft?

It's an emerging science that many teams are still wrestling with. Insider talked to numerous team sources to try to get insight into that process, and from those conversations we have made our first attempt at projecting who will and won't be protected for the expansion draft.

The rules are pretty simple. Teams are allowed to protected a maximum of eight players for the expansion draft. Since unrestricted free agents are ineligible to be drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats, they don't count. If a team has fewer than eight players under contract, they still must leave at least one player unprotected.

That's the bad news. The good news is the Bobcats are only allowed to select one player from each NBA team. If a team has one of its players selected, the team receives a trade exception equal to the player's 2004-05 salary. This allows teams to replace a player lost in the expansion draft with another player of comparable salary.

So how do teams go about making the list?