Trading Wayne Ellington would give the Heat just enough cap relief to escape the luxury tax, writes salary cap expert Albert Nahmad for HeatHoops. Miami currently projects to be $6.2698MM over the tax line and Ellington’s salary is $6.27MM, so if the Heat can find a deal in which they don’t take any money back, they would be in the clear by $159.
However, Nahmad notes that won’t be easy to accomplish. Only six teams have the ability to make such a trade with Miami, but the Hornets and Pistons would put themselves into tax territory, the Thunder and Wizards are already over the threshold and may not want to take on more salary and the Kings aren’t likely to be interested in using their cap room because they already have Buddy Hield.
Nahmad identifies the Nuggets, who are $6.9MM below the tax line and have a pair of trade exceptions worth $12.8MM and $13.8MM, as the most likely team to take on Ellington. His salary would be pro-rated at $2.2MM if he’s acquired at the February 7 deadline, and the Heat can trade up to $5.3MM in cash to help offset that.
However, it’s not certain that another shooter is Denver’s top priority. Any other club that trades for Ellington would have to send out at least $3.5MM in salary, which means a third team would have to get involved to make it work for Miami. Nahmad cites the Lakers, Rockets and possibly the Thunder as other potential contenders for Ellington.
There’s more news from Miami:
- The Heat have been working on deals to ease their overcrowded roster and Rodney McGruder may be a candidate to get traded, a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The source adds that McGruder would be a good fit for the Celtics, who could use an all-around role player and wouldn’t mind adding his expiring $1.5MM contract. The Heat may not get more than a second-round pick for McGruder, but won’t be in a great position to re-sign him this summer because of their cap situation.
- In the same story, Jackson states that the Heat don’t seem like a good fit for the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol or Mike Conley, who are reportedly now available on the trade market. Jackson cites Conley’s $32.5MM salary for next season and $34.5MM in 2020/21 as too much for Miami to take on, while Memphis may not be interested in the collection of players — James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk and Dion Waiters — that would need to be included to match the salaries of Gasol and Chandler Parsons, whom the Grizzlies would like to move in a trade involving the center.
- Olynyk is the latest player to fall out of the Heat’s frequently changing rotation, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The backup center didn’t play in the second half Saturday, then was held out of Monday’s game. “You look at the game saying, ‘I definitely think I can help out there. I can make an impact, make a difference,'” Olynyk said. “But Coach has to do his job and I don’t envy him, because it’s not an easy job.