With just hours to go before the trade deadline, it’s worth taking a look at a set of stumbling blocks that might be making some potential deals a lot harder: trade kickers.
A trade kicker, or trade bonus, is an amount of money paid to a player if he is traded during his contract. Only a few players have trade kickers as a part of their deals, many of them stars who can command such clauses during negotiations. Trade kickers are usually a certain percentage of the remaining value of the contract, but sometimes they are a fixed amount. In either case, they can’t exceed 15% of the deal’s remaining value.
For salary cap purposes, the kicker counts toward the cap of the team acquiring the player, and the bonus is spread evenly over the remaining years of the contract. So, if Player X has a $2.5MM trade kicker and two more seasons left on his contract after this year, the kicker counts as $500K for the rest of this season and $1M each for the next two seasons.
For more on trade kickers, check out Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ page. Here’s a roundup of players with trade kickers, with the value in parentheses.
Josh Smith (15%)
Anderson Varejao (5%)
Shawn Marion (15%)
DeAndre Jordan (15%)
Note: A player's salary plus his trade bonus is not permitted to exceed the maximum salary for that year, so some of these bonuses would be unavailable in the case of a trade.