NBA Trade News
It was announced today that a trade between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Orleans Hornets happened today. The trade sends Tyson Chandler to the Thunder and the expiring contracts of Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox to the Hornets along with the rights to the Thunder’s 2nd round pick from 2008 Devon Hardin.
This move immediately makes OKC better, and they are really starting to look like an up and coming contender in the west. With a foundation of Durant, Westbrook, Green and
The other side of the coin is what this does to the Hornets. Now many people think that this is going take them out of playoff contention, but I want to caution those people. Wilcox and Smith are no scrubs. Wilcox is a legitimate 14-7 guy and as any Blazer fan knows, Joe Smith has a deadly mid-range game to compliment his veteran savvy. While I agree that this takes them out of championship contention, I don’t think we can count them out of the playoffs quite yet.
Could this be the move that gets everyone else moving?
I have been getting more then a few questions on what is so special about Raef’s contract and why it is such a topic of interest when it comes to making potential trades. Basically the idea behind trading Raef (or any expiring contract for that matter) is to give a team financial flexibility for a player of better talent. In Reaf's case, there is a huge push to trade him before the deadline because if we don't then we won't realize the full value of his expiring contract ($12.8 mil). The reason we wouldn’t realize the full value is because you cannot go over the salary cap to sign a free agent, but you can trade players that are within 125% + $100,000 of the same salary. So in our case we could trade for a player that makes $16.1 Million for Raef strait up. What makes Reaf’s contract even more valuable is that since he is hurt and out all season, insurance is paying 80% of his contract. Pile that on top of the fact that it is expiring and that is why everyone sweats it.
If we just let the contract expire, it comes off of our books, and right now as we are slated, we will be an estimated $7-$8 mil under the salary cap (the salary cap number is based off revenues and ticket sales throughout the league in the previous season, so it is expected to go down for the first time since there has been a salary cap in the NBA. The salary cap number is announced after the draft and before free agency (July 1st)). And that $7-$8 mil in space is based on the assumption that we renounce our rights (basically let them walk for nothing) to Frye and Diogu, and pick up the team options on Blake ($4 mil) and Outlaw ($3.7).
The reason so many teams want expiring contracts right now is because they are over what is called the luxury tax cap. There is a salary cap (Approx $59 mil) and a luxury tax line (Approx $71 mil). When a team exceeds the luxury tax line they have to pay dollar for dollar for every dollar they are over. This money is split 30 ways (for 30 teams) and each team under the luxury line is given 1/30th of league wide luxury tax paid. So when a team is over the luxury line, they not only have to pay an extra tax, but they miss out on getting paid their share of the luxury tax bonus.
So as you can see many fans think we should make a move right now and obtain full value for Reaf’s contract. However I am definitely not in the camp of we HAVE to make a trade to maximize Raef's contract. I think it is people over-reacting and assuming that just because Paul Allen is a billionaire, he likes losing money. We are in a postion of power. This is a buyer’s market and we have one of the, if not the most, coveted asset on the market right now. So I think unless the deal is perfect for us we should just stand pat, and see what we can swing in the summer.
Blazer Trade News
Chad Ford had some good stuff today on potential trades, and other information. Here is what he had to say about the Blazers:
Here's a look at what we're hearing:
The hottest name at the trade deadline? A guy who hasn't played a game this season: Raef LaFrentz of the Portland Trail Blazers.
"If you asked owners in the league who they'd rather have right now, LaFrentz or Stoudemire, I think more than half of them would prefer LaFrentz," one executive told me. "That's how screwed up this thing has been. I guarantee you [Blazers GM] Kevin Pritchard has gotten better offers for LaFrentz than the Suns have gotten for Stoudemire."
That might have been confirmed Monday when the Suns' interest in trading Stoudemire cooled dramatically. Some of that has to do with the hope that new coach Alvin Gentry will inject some life into the listless Suns. But much of it has to do with the fact that the Suns haven't gotten a great offer for Stoudemire.
Meanwhile, sources confirm that the Blazers have been getting a steady flow of offers for LaFrentz, including two significant new ones Monday.
The focus for the Blazers right now appears to be at the small forward position. It appears that three players -- Gerald Wallace, Caron Butler and Richard Jefferson -- are on Pritchard's radar screen. A fourth one, Mike Miller, is also a favorite of the Blazers, but the Wolves have been reluctant to include him in a deal.
Sources say the Blazers have intensified their focus on Wallace. He's young, athletic and physical, and he doesn't need to score to be an impact player. He has four years and $38 million left on his contract, which is a lot, but given his age and production the past few years, it's not unreasonable. The problem for the Blazers is that the Bobcats want
to take back Nazr Mohammed as part of the deal. That could be a deal-breaker for Pritchard. Portland
might be the best player of the group when he's healthy. He was an All-Star last year and is excellent in the mid-range game. He too has a reasonable contract, with just two years and $21 million left on his deal. But it's unclear what the Wizards would want in return and whether they'll ultimately opt to keep Butler and reevaluate the team when Gilbert Arenas returns. If the Wizards are to make such a deal, certainly they'll want the Blazers to take back Etan Thomas' contract, and they'll likely also demand one or two young players from the Blazers. That price might be too high for Butler . Portland
Jeffersonis the most available. The Bucks need to clear his salary from their cap if they're going to re-sign their two restricted free agents this summer: Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions. Sources say there have been conversations that have included both Jefferson and point guard Luke Ridnour, though the talk has quieted down. As a proven scorer and defender who's played in the NBA Finals, Milwaukee Jeffersonhas some appeal for the Blazers.
One wild card for the Blazers is Vince Carter. His contract is the most expensive of the group, but Carter has been fantastic this season and would give the Blazers the biggest bang of anyone out there. It appears unlikely the Blazers will go that direction, but
New Jerseywould certainly listen if wanted to do a deal. Portland
Why should the Blazers do it?
This is the perfect market for a team like
to pick up an excellent player without giving up much in return. Rodriguez and Batum have promise, but Wallace is the real deal. He would add the kind of toughness and versatility that could put the Blazers over the top. Portland
Why should the Bobcats do it?
They are rebuilding this team in Larry Brown's image. This deal gives them some young talent, but more importantly some cap space. Given their recent moves, they could use it.
Will it happen?
The Blazers are in an enviable position. They have what might be the best asset in the NBA right now in LaFrentz's contract.
Sources say that they have their choice of Wallace, Richard Jefferson or Caron Butler if they're willing to send a few young players and LaFrentz's contract. Wallace, Jefferson and
all have their strengths, but for the Blazers' needs, I think Wallace is the best fit. Butler
To be honest, not a big fan of that trade. Not a big fan of Wallace, the guy is constantly hurt. He gets hurt every year. And while he is very good while he plays, he sits out about 1/3 of every season.
Wallace games played by year:
08-09 = 41 (of 52) And counting.....he is still recovering from a broken rib and slightly collapsed lung
07-08 = 62 (of 82)
06-07 = 72
05-06 = 55
Not to mention the fact that Wallace has had 3 concussions and there is a very realistic possibility that if he gets another one he could be forced to retire. Plus not to mention the fact that Sean May hasn't played at all this year because he is too out of shape to stay on the court.
I just think Raef's contract is worth way too much to take a flyer on Wallace. We are in an extreme buyer's market and sit in a position of power, we should not have to compromise, we should just be able to pick which deal we want the most.
In my opinion the only player worth making a move for here is Caron Butler. But as Chad Ford points out in his chat, he will not come cheap.
Ralphie Bristol CT: Who do you expect to end up with at SF? It seems like its gonna be Wallace, Portland , Jefferson or Carter going by what your article says. Butler
Ford: (1:05 PM ET ) Sounds like their primary target is Gerald Wallace. The problem is that Chad wants them to take back Nazr Mohammed in any deal. Richard Jefferson is an easier get, but he's got a bigger salary, is older and isn't as good of a defender. I think Caron Butler is the best fit, but I'm not convinced Charlotte will let him go. Vince Carter is intriguing, but you have to worry about chemistry a bit with him. Bottom line, I think the Blazers will do a deal and I think it will be something that lands them Wallace or Washington Jefferson.
I think we will have to give up a lot to get
I have a feeling as the deadline nears, teams will get more and more desperate to make a trade to get under the tax line, and better offers will come across