Expiring contracts draw more talk this time of year, but while their value wanes in favor of long-term deals that give teams security as the salary cap rises, perhaps more attention should focus on trades involving players with freshly signed pacts. Ten of the 39 players under contract who were involved in deadline-day trades last year were in the first year of their respective deals. Chief among them was Isaiah Thomas, who went from the Suns to the Celtics in a swap that’s given Boston an All-Star under contract at less than $7MM a year through the 2017/18 season.
Such trades also illustrate how quickly the league’s perception of a player can change. The Heat signed Shawne Williams for the minimum salary before last season, and he wound up starting 22 games for them. Miami nonetheless shipped him to the Pelicans in the three-team Goran Dragic trade, one that also saw first-year player Zoran Dragic go to the Heat. New Orleans released Williams a few days after the trade, but the Pistons claimed him, played him fewer than 10 minutes per game and traded him in their offseason deal for Ersan Ilyasova. The Bucks waived him shortly thereafter, and he hasn’t been in the NBA since.
Here are each of the players who were in deadline-day trades last year after just having signed earlier in the season:
- D.J. Augustin (Pistons to Thunder) — two years, $6MM
- Zoran Dragic (Suns to Heat) — two years, $3MM
- Tyler Ennis (Suns to Bucks) — four years, $7.654MM (rookie scale contract)
- Grant Jerrett (Thunder to Jazz) — four years, $3.867MM
- K.J. McDaniels (Sixers to Rockets) — one year, $507K
- John Salmons (Pelicans to Suns) — one year, $2MM
- Ramon Sessions (Kings to Wizards) — two years, $4.247MM
- Ish Smith (Thunder to Pelicans) — one year, $861K
- Isaiah Thomas (Suns to Celtics) — four years, $27MM
- Shawne Williams (Heat to Pelicans) — two years, $2.584MM
Note: Terms listed are those in effect at the time of the signing. Contract values are rounded to the nearest $1K.
The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.