The Trail Blazers have waived Brendan Haywood just days after acquiring him from the Cavaliers, the team announced (Twitter link). The move is no great shock, since Haywood’s non-guaranteed salary of $10,522,500 for this coming season would have been fully guaranteed if Portland kept him through Saturday. Thus ends the odyssey of one of the most unusual contracts the league has seen in quite some time.
Haywood averaged only 1.6 points in 5.4 minutes per game last season across 22 appearances, but his contract made him a valuable trade chip. The Mavs signed him to a six-year deal worth more than $52MM in 2010, but two years later, they amnestied him, with Charlotte claiming him off waivers shortly thereafter. The then-Bobcats submitted a partial bid, so they were only on the hook for a fraction of the Haywood contract, with Dallas paying the rest. However, the final season of his original Mavs deal was non-guaranteed. Thus, the cap figure for that year, unlike the years in which Charlotte and Dallas split the cost, remained as it was when Haywood signed the contract.
The center, who’s now 35, has seen his game decline over the past few seasons, but the final year of his contract was motivation for his team to keep him on an NBA roster, since this summer, the deal served as a de facto trade exception. A team could use his contract to acquire a player who makes as much as $15,522,500 without giving up any guaranteed salary in return.
Curiously, the Cavs acquired him cheaply last summer, giving up only Scotty Hopson and cash to Charlotte in a trade. Cleveland’s payroll has ventured into tax territory this summer, so the maximum amount of salary the Cavs could have brought back in a Haywood trade was $13,253,125. Still, Cleveland never found a deal to its liking, and simply rolled over the benefit into an actual trade exception in the deal with Portland. That exception is slightly less valuable, since the Cavs could only use it to bring in $10,622,500.
The utility of Haywood’s contract for Portland wasn’t that great, since the Blazers already possess cap space. They had this week to see if they could flip Haywood to an over-the-cap team that might then trade the contract again to reap its benefit, but no such series of deals materialized. Haywood faces a challenge to hook on with another team at this point, though he apparently doesn’t intend to retire.
Are you surprised that more a market didn’t develop for the Haywood contract when the Cavs had it? Leave a comment to let us know.