The effects of the trade deadline and buyout season are still being felt around the NBA as teams negotiate with new free agents and fill open roster spots. Hoops Rumors will be taking a team-by-team look at the financial ramifications of all the movement. We began earlier with looks at the Southwest, Pacific and Central divisions, and we’ll continue with the Central Division:
Utah’s parade of 10-day contracts appears to be over thanks to the deadline trade that filled the team’s open roster spot and netted the Jazz’s starting point guard for the past five games. The team used its cap space to add Shelvin Mack as part of a three-team swap that only cost the Jazz a second-round pick. The deal also brought the team above the $63MM salary floor, thanks to Mack’s $2,433,333 pay. The Jazz overshot the minimum team salary, adding $1,817,873 more than they had to, but the move entailed no long-term sacrifice, as Mack’s contract is non-guaranteed for next season, and it appears, given Mack’s prominent role in Utah, that the trade has been worth the extra expenditure so far.
Denver has been opening its checkbook in an apparent effort to address injury concerns, though the team’s trade deadline swap also reaped a pair of second-round picks. That move involved the absorption of Steve Novak‘s $3,750,001 salary and D.J. Augustin‘s $3MM pay in exchange only for the $3.135MM that Randy Foye makes. The buyout with Novak saved $396,242, and the Thunder gave the Nuggets $1.16MM in cash, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports, but the trade still cost Denver $2,058,759, a relatively heavy price considering the team’s faint playoff hopes. Augustin went into the role of backup point guard amid concern that Jameer Nelson would miss the rest of the season, and Nelson still hasn’t played, so the deal has come in handy in that regard.
The Nuggets used their disabled player exception for Wilson Chandler‘s season-ending injury to accommodate the uneven exchange of salaries, applying it to Novak and his larger salary so that they could create a $135K trade exception for the difference between the salaries for Foye and Augustin, though the trade exception is so tiny that it’s virtually useless. Similarly, Axel Toupane‘s $30,888 10-day contract is but a pin prick of an expenditure in the wake of another injury, one that threatens to end the season for Danilo Gallinari. The Nuggets spent more when they gave JaKarr Sampson a prorated minimum-salary contract worth $258,489 for the rest of the season. That deal also includes a non-guaranteed minimum salary for next season. Denver neither gave up nor acquired any salary that’s guaranteed beyond the end of this season, so none of Denver’s deadline or buyout season moves necessarily have bearing on the team’s ledger for next year.
Oklahoma City took advantage of a rare opportunity to save money and exchange two players who were out of the rotation for one who’s in it. The same $3,218,759 that represents Denver’s cost of its trade with the Thunder is the amount of Oklahoma City’s savings in raw salary, though it’s actually a windfall of significantly more for taxpaying OKC. The Thunder’s tax bill dropped a projected $7,148,705 because of the trade, and they also scored a trade exception for Novak’s $3,750,001 salary. The swap also created an open roster spot, and GM Sam Presti hinted at a willingness to use it on a signing, but so far, that hasn’t happened.
It seemed for months as though the Wolves and Kevin Martin were headed for a parting of ways, though they stuck together just about as long as they possibly could. Minnesota didn’t trade Martin at last month’s deadline and the sides didn’t reach a buyout deal until the night of March 1st, the final hours before the point at which Martin would lose eligibility to appear in the postseason with another team. The financial sacrifice involved for Martin explains why. He resisted making any promise to turn down his $7,377,500 player option for next season before the deadline, reportedly dissuading would-be trade partners, but he agreed to sacrifice exactly half of the option and $352,750 of this season’s salary as part of his buyout, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Thus, Martin gave up a total of $4,041,500, more than anyone else in the period since the trade deadline. The Wolves are left with $3,688,750 for Martin next season, and they have a few days’ grace to decide whether to use the stretch provision to spread that evenly over the next three years or pay it all at once in 2016/17. Early indications are that Minnesota won’t stretch the salary, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press. The Wolves also took $256,333 off their obligation to Andre Miller in his buyout, dropping their payroll to less than $1MM over the salary cap. They rolled some of that savings into a 10-day contract for Greg Smith that costs $55,722.
The Blazers predictably used their ample cap space as a depository for salary that other teams wanted to move off, taking on Anderson Varejao and Brian Roberts in a pair of trades. Look for the moves to continue, since the team is still $513,142 shy of the salary floor. The addition of Varejao in a deal that otherwise involved only draft picks added $10,256,800 to this season’s ledger, though the Cavs will pay a majority of that, including the exercised trade kicker included in that figure. Portland made use of the stretch provision to spread his salary for next season, which was almost entirely guaranteed, over the next five years at equal payments of $1,984,005, though the Cavs paid a portion of those amounts, too, because of the trade kicker. The acquisition of Roberts is much simpler since he’s on an expiring contract, but again, the Blazers don’t have to shell out for the majority of his $2,854,940 salary because he already received most of his paychecks from the Heat. Portland gave up $75K in cash to Miami as part of the Roberts deal, but the team would have had to pay that money anyway to reach the salary floor.
The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.