NBA PM: Trade Talks Heating Up
Christmas is truly the season of giving, and with a rapid-fire NBA free agency period just ahead you can bet there are going to be some happy NBA fans come Christmas . . .and with it the advent of the delayed 2011-12 NBA season.
That said, this is also going to be the season of trade rumors gone wrong, and at HOOPSWORLD we will be working as hard as ever to separate the real deals from the mid-winter’s night dreams.
We’ll start our walk through the winter wonderland of trade rumors with the reports that the New Jersey Nets and Orlando Magic are contemplating a Dwight Howard deal. According to one report, the Nets would send Brook Lopez and two first round draft picks to Orlando for Howard, and would even be willing to take Hedo Turkoglu as a way of sweetening the deal for Orlando. As has been widely speculated, Howard would become a vehicle for unloading a big contract.
There are a couple of problems with this deal, starting with the low value of two first round picks from a team that would have Dwight Howard and Deron Williams as its franchise cornerstones. It wouldn’t take much more tweaking for the Nets to become contenders, meaning those first round picks would likely be in the 20′s. Second, sources close to the situation in New Jersey told HOOPSWORLD this morning that this isn’t even something the Nets have put on the table. Finally, the Magic are anything but resigned to having to trade Howard, and have had recent conversations with the Atlanta Hawks about Josh Smith and the Philadelphia 76ers about Andre Iguodala.
The clear plan for the Magic is to try to bring in some players who will help them keep their own star player, starting with Smith and Deron Williams, two guys on Howard’s wish list of teammates. Of course, what they’re offering is a package consisting of players like Brandon Bass, Ryan Anderson and Jameer Nelson . . .and that’s not likely to gain them a serious audience with any team looking to move an All-Star-caliber player.
At this point, the question isn’t really “if” the Magic will trade Dwight Howard, but “when.” As unfortunate as that is for NBA fans in Orlando, it’s the reality that GM Otis Smith has painted for his team. Don’t expect them to pull the trigger until they feel they have exhausted all other options . . .right before the trade deadline.
Rondo/Green To OKC?
HOOPSWORLD’s Eric Pincus was the first to cry “foul” on this one . . .the notion that after the playoffs in June the Boston Celtics tried to trade Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green to the OKC Thunder in an effort to re-acquire Kendrick Perkins along with Russell Westbrook.
Problem is, that’s not legal . . .for several reasons.
First, you can’t trade a free agent, restricted or otherwise, in June. You can work a sign-and-trade after the free agency opens, but that’s not until July . . .or in the case of this year, December.
Second, you also can’t trade a player whom you recently acquired back to the same team from which you acquired him the following June. It wouldn’t have been legal for the Thunder to send Perkins back to Boston or for Boston to send Green back to Oklahoma City. Not in June.
Doesn’t mean it wasn’t discussed, but if it was it reflects a level of incompetence that is not generally associated with either of these NBA franchises.
Rondo/Nene to Indiana?
Rajon Rondo’s name keeps coming up, with another prominent rumor having him possibly heading to Indiana. Sources close to the situation in Indiana called this rumor “absurd,” and said the Pacers had not reached out to the Celtics in any way regarding Rondo. They recognize Rondo’s talent, but they aren’t sure his personality is right for the team.
On the other hand, the Pacers have expressed interest in Denver Nuggets free agent Nene, who is also seeing interest from teams like the Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and Miami HEAT. The only reason Nene’s name is even out there is because the Nuggets are not expecting to put a max deal on the table for Nene, and one NBA executive told HOOPSWORLD today he doesn’t think Nene warrants such a contract. He’s a good player, yes, but not a max player.
This explains why Nene is suddenly being seen as a player who could be had for the right price. The Nuggets can pay him more than anyone else, but if they choose not to the bidding way could prove to be interesting.
The Derrick Rose Provision
One of the aspects of the new NBA collective bargaining agreement is the ability to give players who grossly outplay their rookie scale contracts – the typical four-year deal given to first-round picks based on a sliding scale – more money. Under the old deal the extensions teams could offer that kicked in for the fifth season were set at a maximum of 25% of the cap, but under the new deal if a player meets certain benchmarks that number can be 30%. This is being called the “Derrick Rose Provision” after the Chicago Bulls point guard who won the league MVP last year, in just his third season in the NBA.
The idea is that teams can reward young players who have an immediate impact on the league – players like Rose and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant – by giving them more money faster. It creates something of a win-win for the teams, as well, as they can sign the player for a little less long-term than they otherwise would have had to pay. Basically it’s more money for the player short-term, more cap space for the team long-term.
HOOPSWORLD’s Jason Fleming will be reporting on this in more detail this evening, but here’s an example he wrote up as it would pertain to Kevin Durant.
He signed a max extension last summer, but the max is defined under the new CBA, so with two All-NBA first team nods, he gets 30% of the cap instead of 25%. Another change is he now gets the 7.5% raise instead of 10.5% (as do all players signed with Bird Rights). So here is what he would have received under the old deal:
2012-13: 15,032,420 (1,428,420 annual raise)
And under the new deal he receives:
2012-13: 17,548,838 (1,224,337.5 annual raise)
A difference of +$11.6 million . . .not a bad deal.
How does this impact the Thunder’s long-term salary cap, including their ability to re-sign Russell Westbrook? Check out HOOPSWORLD’s updated Thunder salary page here!
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