1:17pm: The Heat traded Jarnell Stokes and a little more than $700K in cash to the Pelicans for New Orleans’ top-55 protected 2018 second-round pick. It’s a money saving move for the Heat, even though they’re the ones relinquishing cash. It offloads the team’s remaining salary commitment to Stokes and lowers the team’s projected tax hit by about $2.1MM. Miami wound up wiping out its entire projected tax bill in the Brian Roberts trade. New Orleans is contemplating a buyout with Stokes, according to Scott Kushner of The New Orleans Advocate (Twitter links).
Stokes is making the minimum salary of $845,059, with a non-guaranteed minimum salary for next season also on his contract. The power forward who went 35th overall in the 2014 draft originally signed a three-year deal with the Grizzlies, who traded him and that contract to the Heat in the Mario Chalmers swap this past November. It’s because he’s on a three-year deal that the Pelicans can’t absorb him using the minimum-salary exception, which is just for two-year deals. The same is true of the disabled player exception they have for relief from Quincy Pondexter‘s injury, which is just for a one-year deal. Thus, the Pelicans took him into the $947,276 trade exception they created in December when they offloaded Ish Smith, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter), reducing its value to a virtually unusable $102,217.
The Heat meanwhile create a new trade exception equivalent to the $845,059 salary for Stokes, as Pincus points out. Miami seemingly had little use for the power forward who appeared for a total of only 14 minutes across five games at the NBA level while a member of the Heat. He meanwhile logged 494 minutes in 16 D-League contests on assignment to Miami’s affiliate. He spent enough time with the Sioux Falls Skyforce that he was named a D-League All-Star.
Zach Lowe of ESPN.com reported that the Heat had traded Stokes (Twitter link), and Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports revealed that he was going to the Pelicans (on Twitter). Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel tweeted that a highly protected draft pick was going Miami’s way, with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald adding that it’s a second-rounder (Twitter link). RealGM provided pick specifics. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported the cash involved (via Twitter).