Trade kickers are contractual clauses that pay players a bonus when they’re traded, and they represent one of the tools teams have to differentiate their free agent offers from the deals competing clubs put on the table, as I explained this weekend. They’re often used to woo stars, like Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, both of whom have trade kickers worth the maximum 15% of their new deals. It seems unlikely that either of them will be traded anytime soon, but their kickers offer further deterrence against a trade as well as the possibility that their maximum-salary contracts will become even more lucrative than they already are.
Trade kickers aren’t the exclusive purview of the NBA’s most well-paid players. The agents for Nazr Mohammed, Beno Udrih and Nick Young and all negotiated trade kickers into the minimum-salary deals those players signed this past offseason. The Lakers may well have felt compelled to agree to the kicker to entice Young to sign for below market value, while Mohammed wields the double hammer of a trade kicker and the ability to veto trades, making it highly improbable he gets moved this season.
Sometimes a trade kicker is included in an offer sheet that a team makes to a restricted free agent in hopes that the bonus will dissuade the player’s original team from matching. That appears to have been the case with Jeff Teague, who signed an offer sheet with the Bucks that included a trade kicker. In Teague’s case, the ploy didn’t work, as the Hawks matched anyway.
Teague’s trade kicker is unusual, since it stipulates that in the event of a trade, he’ll receive either a set amount ($600K) or 15% of the value of his contract, whichever is less. Most trade kickers call for the player to get a simple percentage of whatever’s left on the his deal, but Teague is one of a few guys with more complex terms in his contract. Tyreke Evans and Tyson Chandler have similarly structured deals. Trade kickers can also simply call for the player to receive a set amount, though no current players have one like that in their contracts.
Three players with trade kickers were involved in swaps over the summer, so Jason Terry, Andrea Bargnani and Robin Lopez are all on slightly more expensive deals than they were last season. They can be traded again, but they won’t receive any extra money if that happens. Here’s a list of every NBA player with an active trade kicker, listed alphabetically, with the details of the kickers in parentheses. Players who signed deals this past offseason are marked with an asterisk.
- Ray Allen, Heat (15%)
- Nicolas Batum, Trail Blazers (15%)
- Chris Bosh, Heat (15%)
- Vince Carter, Mavericks (10%)
- Tyson Chandler, Knicks (lesser of 8% or $500K — so, the bonus would be $500K until midway through the 2014/15 season)
- *Samuel Dalembert, Mavericks (15%)
- *Tyreke Evans, Pelicans (lesser of 15% or $1MM — so, the bonus would be $1MM until midway through the 2016/17 season)
- Pau Gasol, Lakers (15%)
- Eric Gordon, Pelicans (15%)
- Blake Griffin, Clippers (15%)
- Udonis Haslem, Heat (15%)
- Roy Hibbert, Pacers (15%)
- *Dwight Howard, Rockets (15%)
- *Andre Iguodala, Warriors (15%)
- LeBron James, Heat (15%)
- Amir Johnson, Raptors (5%)
- DeAndre Jordan, Clippers (15%)
- Brook Lopez, Nets (15%)
- Shawn Marion, Mavericks (15%)
- *Nazr Mohammed, Bulls (15%)
- Steve Nash, Lakers (15%)
- *Chris Paul, Clippers (15%)
- *J.J. Redick, Clippers (5%)
- Derrick Rose, Bulls (15%)
- *J.R. Smith, Knicks (15%)
- *Jeff Teague, Hawks (lesser of 15% or $600K — so, the bonus would be $600K until midway through the 2016/17 season)
- Jason Thompson, Kings (5%)
- *Beno Udrih, Knicks (15%)
- Anderson Varejao, Cavaliers (5%)
- Dwyane Wade, Heat (15%)
- Deron Williams, Nets (15%)
- *Mo Williams, Trail Blazers (15%)
- *Nick Young, Lakers (15%)
ShamSports was used in the creation of this post.