For all the rumors we heard over the last several weeks about Josh Smith, Monta Ellis, Kevin Garnett, and a handful of other big-name players, Thursday's trade deadline ended up being fairly quiet, as J.J. Redick and Thomas Robinson were ultimately the most significant trade chips on the move.
Still, as quiet as the deadline may have been, there were 12 deals completed on Wednesday and Thursday. Many of those trades involved teams moving around back-of-the-bench pieces for cap or tax purposes, so it's worth examining exactly how each deal worked in financial terms.
As I explained when I looked at last year's deadline deals, the two clubs involved in a trade can often break down the deal in different ways, using the traded player exception rules. It can sometimes be advantageous for a team to consider a trade as two or more separate deals in order to obtain trade exceptions and/or maximize its future flexibility.
So without further ado, here's the breakdown of this year's deadline trades:
- Using Redick's $6.19MM salary, the Magic are eligible to take back $9,385,000 — 150% of Redick's salary, plus $100K. Unfortunately, the three incoming players total $9,504,200, so Redick's salary isn't quite enough to absorb all three. It's enough to take on Udrih's $7,372,200 and Harris' $1,482,000 though.
- The Magic can then take on Lamb's $650,000 salary using Smith's $910,491 salary.
- That leaves Ayon as the remaining outgoing piece. Orlando obtains a trade exception worth his salary ($1,500,000).
- The Bucks made excellent use of the $2,506,500 trade exception that was left over from their deal with the Warriors last March. It would have expired had it gone unused yesterday. Instead, Milwaukee was able to absorb both Ayon's and Smith's salaries using the exception.
- Udrih's salary was then used to take on Redick's salary, with the difference between the two amounts creating a small $1,182,200 trade exception.
- The Bucks also created a pair of modest TPEs worth Harris' and Lamb's salaries — $1,482,000 and $650,000.
- I've yet to definitively confirm the financial details for the Kings in this deal, but salary-cap databases like Storytellers Contracts and ShamSports suggest Sacramento was barely under the cap prior to the trade, with a team salary of $57,924,631. As such, the club absorbed the incoming players using cap space, and now have a team salary of $54,250,236.
- The Rockets were well below the salary cap before making this trade, allowing them to take on plenty of additional salary in the deal and still have cap room left over. In fact, if the Rockets had been over the cap, they wouldn't have been able to complete this deal under CBA rules without including more salary — that's probably one reason why it was Houston, rather than another club, that was able to nab Robinson.
- Typically, an outgoing player with no salary coming back would result in a trade exception, but as mentioned above, the Rockets still had room under the cap, so they don't get a TPE in the move.
- The Suns also have a good chunk of cap space, which allows them to comfortably absorb Morris' $1,905,360 salary without using any exceptions or sending out any salary.
- Because both Barbosa and Collins are on minimum-salary contracts, they can each be acquired using the minimum salary exception.
- That means Crawford is essentially being sent out for nothing, so Washington obtains a trade exception worth his salary ($1,198,680).
- The C's may have preferred to complete the deal using just Barbosa, rather than including Collins as well. But, despite the fact that Barbosa is earning a higher salary ($1,229,255) than Crawford, Boston actually couldn't have pulled off a one-for-one deal. For trade purposes, only $854,389 of Barbosa's salary, the portion not paid by the league, is counted. Because they're a taxpaying team, the C's could have taken on 125% of that amount, plus $100K, which would have been $1,167,986 — not enough for Crawford's salary. That's why Collins' minimum-salary deal was included in the deal as well.
- For cap purposes, the rights to Printezis don't count for anything, so the Thunder are basically trading Maynor for nothing. That means they create a trade exception worth his $2,338,721 salary.
- The Blazers are over the cap, so they didn't have the cap room to acquire Maynor's salary. Instead, they used the $2,247,740 TPE they had left over from last summer's Raymond Felton sign-and-trade. Taking into the account the extra $100K the CBA allows them to absorb using that exception, Maynor's salary just barely fits.
- Brewer's outgoing minimum-salary contract creates a $854,389 trade exception for the Knicks.
- Oklahoma City didn't have to use a portion of their Maynor TPE to acquire Brewer, since the minimum salary exception can be used instead.
- Using Warrick's outgoing $4,000,000 salary, the Bobcats can absorb McRoberts' $3,150,000 figure and still have $850,000 left over as a future trade exception.
- There are two ways Orlando could have completed this deal, so it's not 100% clear which one the team used. The simple approach would have involved using McRoberts' salary to absorb Warrick's contract, since the club could have taken back up to $4,825,000 by dealing McRoberts.
- The second possible way the Magic could have made the deal involves using a portion of their massive $17,816,880 Dwight Howard trade exception to take on Warrick's salary (reducing that TPE to $13,816,880), then creating a new trade exception worth McRoberts' salary ($3,150,000). That would mean losing $850,000 in TPE money, so why do it? Well, the Magic are unlikely to acquire a player making more than $13.8MM anyway, so reducing the Dwight TPE a little doesn't take many options off the table. Additionally, this approach would mean obtaining a decent-sized trade exception that could be used at next year's deadline (whereas the Dwight exception expires this August).
- With Jones' outgoing $2,900,000 salary, the Mavs can absorb 150% of that amount, plus $100K. That means Dallas could have taken back up to $4,450,000, which is more than enough for Morrow's $4,000,000 salary.
- Because there's a $1,100,000 gap between Morrow's and Jones' salaries, the Hawks create a trade exception worth that amount.
- Telfair's outgoing salary ($1,567,500) and Haddadi's incoming salary ($1,300,000) are close enough that no trade exception is created for the Suns.
- Toronto could take back 150% of Haddadi's salary, plus $100K, so Telfair's incoming salary easily fits.
- Like Giorgio Printezis with the Thunder, Sanchez's rights don't count for anything against the cap, so Miami obtains a trade exception worth Pittman's outgoing salary ($854,389).
- Although Pittman is making the minimum salary, the Heat didn't officially sign him using the minimum salary exception, since they gave him three years rather than one or two. I would guess that's why the Grizzlies' press release announcing the deal indicated that the club used one of its "previously-acquired trade exceptions" to acquire Pittman rather than the minimum salary exception. If that's the case, it would be the $1,184,750 TPE acquired last March for Sam Young, which was set to expire if it went unused.
- Because Jenkins is being sent to the Sixers for no incoming salary, Golden State creates a trade exception worth his salary — $762,195.
- The Sixers are over the cap, but can absorb Jenkins' salary using the minimum salary exception.
- Like Jenkins, Tyler is a second-year, minimum-salary player being traded for no incoming salary, so the Warriors create another $762,195 trade exception.
- The over-the-cap Hawks absorb Tyler's salary using the minimum salary exception.