3:18pm: The trade is now official, per Boston. The Celtics acquired a future protected second-round pick from the Spurs to complete the deal.
The Spurs have waived both Dieng and Vonleh, as expected, per NBA.com’s transaction log.
1:08pm: The Celtics are trading big man Noah Vonleh and cash considerations to the Spurs, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
The Spurs are waiving center Gorgui Dieng to create a roster spot for Vonleh, who will also be waived, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
It’s a salary dump move for Boston, as Vonleh’s salary is non-guaranteed and would have become fully guaranteed if he remained under contract through Saturday. The Celtics will free up a roster spot and save $7.15MM toward their projected luxury tax bill, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
The Celtics will also generate a small $1.16MM traded player exception, Marks notes (via Twitter). That’s the amount of guaranteed money owed to Vonleh.
The 27-year-old was a deep-bench reserve for Boston. In 23 games, he averaged just 7.4 minutes per contest. The ninth overall pick of the 2014 draft, Vonleh has played for eight different teams in as many NBA seasons. He played in China in 2021/22.
San Antonio has plenty of cap room available — $27.1MM, per Marks — to waive Dieng’s guaranteed salary without worrying about the financial implication. He was on a veteran’s minimum deal and rarely saw the court this season, appearing in just 13 games with averages of 4.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 2.0 APG in 11.6 MPG.
In fact, the Spurs are well below the salary cap “floor” of $111,290,000, so it was an easy decision for them from a financial standpoint — adding more money to the books just means they’ll be that much closer to the floor. If they don’t reach the threshold, the Spurs are obligated to make up the difference by distributing the shortfall to the players on their roster.
San Antonio will also open a roster spot with an eye toward flexibility ahead of the February 9 trade deadline. Since the Spurs still have so much cap room available, they’re likely to be involved in more minor trades that involve dumping salary.
The Spurs will have to send something back to Boston to make the trade official, tweets John Hollinger of The Athletic, likely something with little-to-no value, like a heavily protected second-round pick or the rights to a draft-and-stash player.
As Hollinger tweets, it’s possible that a couple more players with non-guaranteed contracts could be traded in advance of the January 7 deadline, with an eye on savings toward the luxury tax.
30 thoughts on “Celtics Trade Vonleh To Spurs; Spurs Waive Dieng, Vonleh”
What is the Spurs’ motivation to do this deal if no pick is exchanged? I see the cash considerations, but still not sure why they would do it.
They made some cash. That’s pretty much it.
Gonna have one gigantic pizza party
Do they even have good pizza in San Antonio?
When is the next time they come to NY?
I thought you said “good” pizza. NY need not apply.
Trade exception. Basically cap flexibility of 1.16M.
Celtics have the exception now I believe
Spurs are below the salary floor. If they don’t take on the cap filler they have to redistribute the money among their players.
Perhaps they’ll receive a heavily Protected, future 2nd Round Draft pick for their Trouble?
Not all the details of the Trade are known yet.
Most likely for such an inconsequential trade. They can top 55 their own in 24 or 25, and they already have such a pick this year from Indiana.
What does making this trade accomplish for the Celtics that just waiving Vonleh wouldn’t have done? They could have waived him now before his deal became guaranteed, and wouldn’t have had to pay any cash to the Spurs
As far as I know, if they just waived him right away, they would be on the books for his salary for the time he spent there. But since they traded him, for salary cap purposes,Spurs is gonna be on the books for his salary. So, this way, as it is said in the article, Celtics will pay less luxury tax at the end of the season.
Small trade exception so a tiny bit more flexibility.
The trade X can be used in another trade to help match salaries. It’s small but 1M could help to match salaries which will be a requirement due to C’s current cap situation
Trade exception is barely more than the rookie minimum and cannot be combined with players to match salary.
Most likely? Luxury tax implications. It’s all about the money saved on that end. Waiving him doesn’t save them that money, but giving him to another team does. As stated in the article, the Celtics freed up $7.15 million in luxury tax payments. Which is way more than Vonleh’s minimum salary. Even if they paid out his whole contract value to the Spurs in exchange, that’s still less than they saved in tax payments.
Exactly. Luxury Tax implications are the motivation here for the Celtics. Spurs receive financial compensation.
His cap hit would’ve been 34 games worth of salary that he’s already been paid. Trading him removes all of it. Releasing before the guaranteed day only means you don’t owe him any more money.
My thought exactly. Why go through the hoops with another team to do this?
Luxury tax savings for the Celtics, Cash compensation and an extra roster spot for the Spurs.
Remove Vonleh’s partial guarantee from the books, along with the 7M in tax. Spurs don’t have to pay a dime before cutting Vonleh so they get a little cash (approximately the amount of luxury tax distribution Boston just saved) in exchange for the paperwork.
By dealing Vonleh ahead of the Jan 10th deadline instead of waiving him, the Celtics remove his $1.2 million salary, which would have counted as roughly $7 million based on tax escalators.
A loophole in the NBA tax system? It would be if the point of the luxury tax were to charge teams that spend money on players in excess of certain thresholds. But in Stern World (and the league still lives in it) things are rarely as they appear.
The economics here are that BOS will still pay all the salary Vonleh will receive (less perhaps a few days). But BOS won’t pay luxury tax on that salary. In effect, they pay some amount to the Spurs (a few million-?) to avoid paying the league 7 mm.
The only people who care about the salary floor are the Spurs’ players who are rooting against them getting there. I also doubt much of Vonleh’s salary counts against the Spurs floor (if its more than half, then that’s another loophole).
The portion already paid by Boston doesn’t count. Only if he doesn’t clear waivers before the guarantee triggers, will the balance count towards San Antonio’s team salary.
The amount BOS paid (1.16 mm) doesn’t count toward toward BOS’s cap or tax. It does count toward SAS’s cap (even if he clears waivers by 1-10).
I gather the cash consideration is $110,000 or whatever is the current minimum figure. I don’t think anything else is included.
Use the cash for better training staff
Vonleh is probably going overseas.
The Celtics need that money so they can pay Demetrius Jackson
Go get Myles Turner. Trade white, a pick and whatever else. Move R Williams to pf, Tatum to SF, Brown to SG, Brogdan to PG.
Thank you Noah Vonleh for helping us!