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? The general rule is for teams to put players on the unprotected list who make huge salaries. The Bobcats are unlikely to select players with onerous contracts, which is why players like Keith Van Horn, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Penny Hardaway, Raef LaFrentz, Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel could be left unprotected.
Teams also try to keep young players with reasonable contracts off the list. That's why it's likely you'll see a team like Washington leave a better player, like Larry Hughes, unprotected in order to protect a cheap, young player like Steve Blake.
Finally, teams are allowed to entice the Bobcats to take, or refrain from taking, a player on the list. Teams can offer draft picks, cash or future trades to incent Charlotte one way or the other. Several teams, including the Suns, Wizards and Pistons, may go this route.
Here is who they think will be protected and unprotected from each team in the expansion draft:
Protected players: Boris Diaw, Travis Hansen, Stephen Jackson, Joel Przybilla and Jason Terry.
Unprotected players: Chris Crawford and Alan Henderson.
Protected players: Marcus Banks, Mark Blount, Ricky Davis, Brandon Hunter, Chris Mihm, Kendrick Perkins, Paul Pierce and Jiri Welsch.
Unprotected players: Chucky Atkins, Jumaine Jones, Raef LaFrentz, Walter McCarty and Michael Stewart.
Protected players: Tyson Chandler, Jamal Crawford, Eddy Curry, Ronald Dupree, Marcus Fizer, Kirk Hinrich, Chris Jefferies and Linton Johnson.
Unprotected players: Antonio Davis, Scottie Pippen, Eddie Robinson and Jerome Williams.
Protected players: Tony Battie, Carlos Boozer, Kedrick Brown, DeSagana Diop, LeBron James, Jason Kapono, Jeff McInnis and Dajuan Wagner.
Unprotected players: Ruben Boumtje Boumtje, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Ira Newble and Kevin Ollie.
Protected players: Marquis Daniels, Michael Finley, Josh Howard, Antawn Jamison, Eduardo Najera, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Antoine Walker.
Unprotected players: Tariq Abdul-Wahad, Shawn Bradley, Tony Delk, Danny Fortson and Jon Stefansson.
Protected players: Chris Andersen, Carmelo Anthony, Earl Boykins, Marcus Camby, Nene Hilario, Voshon Lenard, Andre Miller and Nikoloz Tskitishvili.
Unprotected players: Ryan Bowen, Francisco Elson and Jeff Trepagnier.
Protected players: Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Mike James, Darko Milicic, Mehmet Okur, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace.
Unprotected players: Elden Campbell, and Corliss Williamson.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Protected players: Speedy Claxton, Erick Dampier, Mike Dunleavy, Popeye Jones, Troy Murphy, Mickael Pietrus, Jason Richardson and Cliff Robinson.
Unprotected players: Evan Eschmeyer and Nick Van Exel.
Protected players: Steve Francis, Adrian Griffin, Jim Jackson, Yao Ming, Cuttino Mobley, Bostjan Nachbar, Eric Piatkowski and Mike Wilks.
Unprotected players: Kelvin Cato, Maurice Taylor and Clarence Weatherspoon.
Protected players: Ron Artest, Jonathan Bender, Jeff Foster, Al Harrington, Fred Jones, Reggie Miller, Jermaine O'Neal and Jamaal Tinsley.
Unprotected players: Jamison Brewer, Primoz Brezec, Austin Croshere, Anthony Johnson, James Jones and Scot Pollard.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Protected players: Elton Brand, Keyon Dooling, Eddie House, Marko Jaric, Chris Kaman, Corey Maggette, Quentin Richardson and Chris Wilcox.
Unprotected players: Matt Barnes, Peja Drobnjak, Melvin Ely, Josh Moore and Bobby Simmons.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Protected players: Kobe Bryant, Brian Cook, Devean George, Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal, Gary Payton, Kareem Rush and Luke Walton.
Unprotected players: Derek Fisher, Rick Fox and Jamal Sampson
Protected players: Shane Battier, Pau Gasol, Mike Miller, James Posey, Stromile Swift, Earl Watson, Bonzi Wells and Jason Williams.
Unprotected players: Troy Bell, Ryan Humphrey, Dahntay Jones, Bo Outlaw, Theron Smith, Jake Tsakalidis and Lorenzen Wright.
Protected players: Malik Allen, Jerome Beasley, Caron Butler, Rasual Butler, Udonis Haslem, Lamar Odom, Dwyane Wade and Loren Woods.
Unprotected players: Brian Grant and Eddie Jones, Wang Zhizhi.
Protected players: T.J. Ford, Dan Gadzuric, Marcus Haislip, Desmond Mason, Michael Redd, Daniel Santiago, Brian Skinner and Joe Smith.
Unprotected players: Erick Strickland and Keith Van Horn.
Protected players: Sam Cassell, Ndudi Ebi, Kevin Garnett, Trenton Hassell, Troy Hudson, Mark Madsen, Michael Olowokandi and Wally Szczerbiak.
Unprotected players: Ervin Johnson and Latrell Sprewell.
NEW JERSEY NETS
Protected players: Jason Collins, Lucious Harris, Richard Jefferson, Jason Kidd, Kerry Kittles, Kenyon Martin, Zoran Planinic and Aaron Williams.
Unprotected players: Alonzo Mourning, Rodney Rogers, Brian Scalabrine and Tamar Slay.
NEW ORLEANS HORNETS
Protected players: Courtney Alexander, Darrell Armstrong, P.J. Brown, Baron Davis, George Lynch, Jamaal Magloire, Jamal Mashburn and David West.
Unprotected players: David Wesley.
NEW YORK KNICKS
Protected players: Othella Harrington, Allan Houston, Stephon Marbury, Nazr Mohammed, Mike Sweetney, Kurt Thomas, Tim Thomas and Frank Williams.
Unprotected players: Shandon Anderson, Penny Hardaway, Dikembe Mutombo, Moochie Norris and Cezary Trybanski.
Protected players: Keith Bogans, Reece Gaines, Drew Gooden, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue, Tracy McGrady and Zaza Pachulia, DeShawn Stevenson.
Unprotected players: Andrew DeClercq, Pat Garrity and Grant Hill.
Protected players: Samuel Dalembert, Willie Green, Allen Iverson, Kyle Korver, Glenn Robinson, John Salmons, Eric Snow and Kenny Thomas.
Unprotected players: Greg Buckner, Derrick Coleman, Marc Jackson, Todd MacCulloch and Aaron McKie.
Protected players: Leandro Barbosa, Zarko Cabarkapa, Casey Jacobsen, Joe Johnson, Maciej Lampe, Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire and Jake Voskuhl.
Unprotected players: Howard Eisley and Jahidi White.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Protected players: Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Dale Davis, Darius Miles, Travis Outlaw, Zach Randolph, Theo Ratliff and Qyntel Woods.
Unprotected players: Derek Anderson, Omar Cook, Eddie Gill, Ruben Patterson, Vladimir Stepania and Damon Stoudamire.
Protected players: Mike Bibby, Bobby Jackson, Brad Miller, Anthony Peeler, Darius Songaila, Peja Stojakovic, Gerald Wallace and Chris Webber.
Unprotected players: Doug Christie.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Protected players: Bruce Bowen, Devin Brown, Tim Duncan, Alex Garcia, Manu Ginobili, Rasho Nesterovic, Tony Parker and Hedo Turkoglu.
Unprotected players: Robert Horry and Malik Rose.
Protected players: Ray Allen, Nick Collison, Antonio Daniels, Reggie Evans, Rashard Lewis, Ronald Murray, Vladimir Radmanovic and Luke Ridnour.
Unprotected players: Calvin Booth, Richie Frahm, Jerome James and Vitaly Potapenko.
Protected players: Robert Archibald, Chris Bosh, Vince Carter, Donyell Marshall, Roger Mason Jr., Jerome Moiso, Milt Palacio and Morris Peterson.
Unprotected players: Lamond Murray, Jalen Rose and Alvin Williams.
Protected players: Carlos Arroyo, Curtis Borchardt, Gordan Giricek, Matt Harpring, Andrei Kirilenko, Raul Lopez, Aleksandar Pavlovic and Maurice Williams.
Unprotected players: Raja Bell and Jarron Collins.
Protected players: Gilbert Arenas, Steve Blake, Kwame Brown, Juan Dixon, Jarvis Hayes, Brendan Haywood, Jared Jeffries and Etan Thomas.
Unprotected players: Lonny Baxter, Larry Hughes, Christian Laettner and Jerry Stackhouse.