The Anatomy of Memphis-Boston Trade
On August 15 the Memphis Grizzlies and Boston Celtics made a two-player trade with Fab Melo to Memphis and Donte Greene to Boston.
The NBA allows teams to account for trades however they see fit, as long as it’s within the rules. How one franchise breaks down the math doesn’t need to match the other.
The Grizzlies, who seem to be hoarding TPEs like no other franchise, could have traded Greene directly for Melo.
Instead, they used up the remainder of their Marreese Speights TPE, which was set to expire on January 22, 2014, to acquire Melo and his $1.3 million salary this coming season. The Grizzlies also received a new TPE, created for Greene’s $1.0 million salary (which won’t expire until August 15, 2014).
Now the Grizzlies have five trade exceptions, the biggest at $7.5 million from the Rudy Gay trade.
If Greene was on a veteran’s minimum contract, the Celtics could have made a similar trade with a TPE for Melo’s full salary. Minimum contracts can be acquired without a team sending out any matching salary.
While Greene’s pay scale is at the minimum, the deal he signed last summer with the Grizzlies was for three years. A true minimum contract cannot be more than two years in length — so Greene was not movable without matching salary (Melo).
Boston’s primary goal in the trade was to get under the luxury tax threshold, which likely means Greene is waived by the team before the season begins.
Boston drafted Melo in 2012 with the 22nd overall pick but they dumped him to get out of the tax.
The Celtics also sent $1.66 million in cash to the Grizzlies to make the deal, about $349k more than Melo will make next season.
Under the rules of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Boston can only send out $1.54 million in any other trades through June 30. The max a team can send out this season is $3.2 million in cash, collectively.