Largest Trade Exceptions

The volume of teams going under the cap this season has drained the leaguewide supply of trade exceptions, which are only available to over-the-cap teams. We’ll likely see more trade exceptions build up throughout the season, since many teams have gone back over the cap thanks to their summer signings, but for now, only five trade exceptions are of at least $5MM in value.

This post shows each of them in detail, with an analysis of just how likely it is that the teams that have them will actually use them.

Amount: $10,522,500
Obtained: Brendan Haywood (Trail Blazers)
Expires: 7/27/16
Likelihood of use: Excellent. Cleveland doesn’t want to pay taxes if it doesn’t have to, which is seemingly why it rolled over the Haywood contract into this trade exception in the first place; it looked as though the Cavs didn’t see an available player that could help them in the month leading up to Haywood’s guarantee date. Thus, they bought themselves an extra year. It seems likely that someone the Cavs like will become available from a team looking to clear salary between now and the end of next July, and Cleveland will be ready to pounce.

Amount: $6,308,194
Obtained: Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
Expires: 8/23/15
Likelihood of use: Poor. The Wolves are running out of time with this one, with less than two weeks remaining until the anniversary of the Love trade. Minnesota has a young roster with veterans Kevin Garnett and Andre Miller already there to provide mentorship. The team probably isn’t going to make the playoffs this coming season, but that doesn’t figure to be a priority just yet for a still-developing bunch. The Timberwolves seem well set up to achieve their modest goals this season, so unless they feel like taking on someone like Mario Chalmers from the Heat just to collect assets, this exception seems destined to go unused.

Amount: $5,387,825
Obtained: David Lee (Celtics)
Expires: 7/27/16
Likelihood of use: Fair. Just as with the Cavs, the Warriors are willing to pay taxes, but not just for anyone. Part of the reason they traded Lee in the first place was to clear some of their tax liabilities, so it would be surprising to see Golden State undo the progress it’s made in that regard. Still, the Warriors aren’t yet in line to pay the tax for 2016/17, so it’s reasonable to envision the team using the exception sometime next summer.

Amount: $5,200,000
Obtained: Zaza Pachulia (Mavericks)
Expires: 7/9/16
Likelihood of use: Good. The Bucks are intent on a deliberate approach to team building, but a weapon like this is eminently valuable for a team with no shortage of financial flexibility for the future. The team is poised to enter this coming season with only about $49MM on the books for 2016/17, so the Bucks have plenty of leeway to add a player at the deadline who can boost their playoff chances, even if it’s somebody’s who’s on a long-term contract.

Amount: $5,000,000
Obtained: Chase Budinger (Pacers)
Expires: 7/12/16
Likelihood of use: Good. Unlike the Love exception, it seems like Minnesota will find some way to use this one, if only because they have so much time in which to find a purpose for it. The Wolves can use it on a veteran to help a playoff push for 2016/17, making a deal reminiscent of the one the Wizards pulled off this summer for Jared Dudley.

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

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