Clippers/Mavericks/Jazz/Rockets Execute Trade
The Los Angeles Clippers have traded guard Mo Williams to the Utah Jazz in a four-team trade that returns their 1999 pick (4th) in Lamar Odom.
Odom arrives via the Dallas Mavericks, who gain an $8.9 million trade exception (TPE) that will expire in a year’s time. The Los Angeles Lakers still retain their original Odom TPE, also $8.9 million, which expires on 12/11/12.
Should the Mavericks decide to go under the cap, they would need to renounce their Odom TPE unused. Dallas is expected to target Deron Williams. If the Mavs don’t achieve that goal, they may never go under the cap and thus the TPE could prove to be a valuable tool to acquire a player.
The Houston Rockets also get the Clippers second-round pick Furkan Aldemir, taken 53rd on Thursday. Given that Coach Vinny Del Negro had a minor struggle spelling his name (Aldmir), albeit on very little sleep after hours preparing for the draft, he didn’t exactly seem like LA’s next franchise player.
The Jazz assume William’s contract via the TPE gained from the Mehmet Okur deal to the New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn Nets).
The Odom trade was originally intended to trigger prior to the draft but Williams held up the process a day as he mulled over his contract status. Once he officially opted in on Friday, he became trade-eligible and the deal was consummated.
Odom’s contract was not fully guaranteed (just $2.4 million) but he extended his decision-date to Friday in order to facilitate his homecoming to the Clippers.
While there remain a few members of the Clipper franchise with long memories of how Odom left after his rookie contract, for the benefit of the present, hatchets have been buried. LA was not happy (to say the least) with Lamar’s defection to the Miami HEAT, once upon a time.
Williams returns to his roots with the Jazz, another playoff-savvy veteran for an up-and-coming squad that badly needed guard support. Utah has a cap plan that allows for major (major) spending next summer and Williams’ expiring contract fit rights in (as long as he doesn’t sulk without an extension).
With Odom out, the Mavericks can max out their cap room at about $18.3 million if they use their amnesty clause on Brendan Haywood. The maximum that any team can pay Williams in free agency in the first year, including the Nets, is $17.2 million.
Losing Odom was addition by subtraction for Dallas after a down season. The Clippers are optimistic he’ll return to form in a better situation.
Arguably the Clippers could have kept Williams and wait for the Mavericks to buy-out Odom for $2.4 million. Is there any guarantee Lamar would be willing to come to LA on an agreeable dollar?
Equally, what is the guarantee Los Angeles would find the desired return on a later Williams’ trade? Here the team has the power of decision – Odom fits the need, wants to be a Clipper and can be had.
The $8.5 million investment in a guard they didn’t have a place for (those minutes need to go to Eric Bledsoe) are now invested in a stronger frontcourt.
The Clippers intend to improve upon last year’s team which means help in both the front and backcourt. Given the team will only have a single Mid-Level Exception (MLE) at $5 million, filling both openings with one tool would have been daunting. Now LA can move forward into free agency with an eye on improving at two-guard.
Certainly retaining Chauncey Billups (recovering from an Achilles’ injury), Randy Foye and/or Nick Young are possibilities but the team is hoping to improve in free agency. The pool is expected to include Ray Allen, O.J. Mayo, Jamal Crawford and Marco Belinelli – among others.
The Clippers have about $59 million invested in nine players including Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler, Ryan Gomes, Eric Bledsoe, Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie (partially guaranteed) and Odom.
The most LA can pay to Young without using their MLE is $4.4 million. Billups can be paid up to maximum, far, far more than he’ll get. Paul wants Chauncey to return, a factor not to be overlooked. Foye can get up to $7.4 million via his Early Bird Rights.
The Clippers can also look to bring back Reggie Evans, Kenyon Martin and/or Bobby Simmons.
Ultimately expect the Clippers to spend up to the luxury tax threshold, expected to be $70.3 million this coming season. If the team amnesties Ryan Gomes ($4 million), LA could have enough to spend on Billups and either Young or Foye (depending on price for Randy). The Clippers would still have room to use both their MLE and their Bi-Annual Exception (BAE).
The Jazz also receive the draft rights of Shan Foster (51st pick 2008). The Rockets send cash to Dallas. The Mavs will also get the rights to Tadija Dragicevic (53rd pick 2008).