The Lakers and Suns are among the teams having discussions with the Cavs about trading for Brendan Haywood and his sizable non-guaranteed contract, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, writing for Amico Hoops. The Clippers are another, Amico writes, advancing earlier reports connecting the Cavs to Jamal Crawford. Cleveland had reportedly spoken a few days ago to the Nets about trading Haywood, and Anderson Varejao, to the Nets for Joe Johnson, but that conversation has since tailed off, and sources told Amico that Cleveland hasn’t offered Varejao to anyone in its most recent proposals. Haywood isn’t planning to retire if he’s waived, a source tells Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
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Haywood’s contract, a vestige of the amnesty clause that’s worth a non-guaranteed $10,522,500 this coming season, has value to teams seeking to clear cap space or avoid luxury tax payments. Cleveland can use it in a trade that brings in as much as $5MM more, or $13,253,125 if that trade leaves the Cavs over the tax threshold. Those figures increase if Haywood is paired with someone else. Haywood’s salary becomes fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster through August 1st, so Cleveland has some time, but a limited amount of it. The 35-year-old center saw only 119 total minutes of action this past season, and, according to Amico, many around the league believe he’ll retire if he’s waived in advance of that August deadline, as seems most likely.
The Lakers appear to be using a large chunk of their cap flexibility to trade for Roy Hibbert, though they may send some salary to Indiana. The major stars are off the market, but the acquisition of Haywood, if executed with sufficient time left before August 1st, would give the Lakers another trade chip. The same would be true for the Suns, who reportedly agreed to trade Marcus Morris and two others to the Pistons in an ill-fated effort to clear cap room for LaMarcus Aldridge. Phoenix is also reportedly shopping Markieff Morris.
It’s unclear exactly what the Cavs are looking for in return for Haywood, though Amico speculates that a wing player would fit the bill, which makes sense, given the rumors linking them to Johnson and Crawford. It appeared earlier that they were looking for either a facilitating guard or a scoring point guard, but that was before they struck a deal with Mo Williams.
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