As our list of 2016 offseason trades shows, five of the deals agreed upon on draft night this year featured one team sending cash to the other. The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement allows clubs to include cash payments, but only up to a certain amount.
In the 2016/17 league year, teams are allowed to receive a total of $3.5MM in trades, and can also send out $3.5MM in trades. Those limits are separate, so a team that sends $3.5MM in a deal and then later receives $3.5MM doesn’t get a fresh, new slate — that club is capped out for the league year. In 2014/15, the limit for cash sent and received in trades was $3.4MM.
Since the league year ends on June 30, teams that hadn’t taken advantage of those cash allowances earlier in the season will often use remaining cash during the draft to move up or to snag an extra pick. Many of the cash details on those draft-day deals for 2016 were previously reported. For instance, we already knew about the following payments:
- Warriors sent $2.4MM to Bucks to acquire No. 38 overall pick (Patrick McCaw).
- Trail Blazers sent $1.2MM (and a 2019 second-round pick) to Magic to acquire No. 47 overall pick (Jake Layman).
- Cavaliers sent approximately $2.5MM to Hawks to acquire No. 54 overall pick (Kay Felder).
Based on those numbers, it appears the Warriors got a much better deal from the Bucks than the Cavaliers did from the Hawks. Of course, if the Cavs badly wanted Felder, the cost to move into the draft was hardly exorbitant — Atlanta likely asked the Cavs for the maximum amount of money they could send, since Cleveland used over $900K in a separate trade earlier in the year.
In addition to those three swaps, two other draft-night deals featured money changing hands, and Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has the details on those payments, along with several others from the 2015/16 league year. According to Pincus, these are the details on the other two draft trades involving cash:
- Nets sent $3MM (and the No. 55 overall pick) to Jazz to acquire No. 42 overall pick (Isaiah Whitehead).
- Thunder sent $730K to Nuggets to acquire No. 56 overall pick (Daniel Hamilton).
Once again, one of these deals looks far more favorable than the other, with the Thunder paying a fraction of what the Nets did for a second-round pick. But again, the available players and interested teams essentially set the market for these cash payments.
In the case of the Nets/Jazz deal, Brooklyn clearly wanted to make sure not to miss out on Whitehead, and the team was willing to pay a relatively significant amount to secure him. The Thunder, meanwhile, offered all their available remaining cash to the Nuggets for the 56th pick, and Denver likely had no better offer and no player targeted at that spot — so the Nuggets took what they could get.
Be sure to check out Pincus’ piece at Basketball Insiders for more thorough details of how teams spent and received cash in trades during the 2015/16 league year.