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The NBA Trade Deadline is More About the Money Than the Players

Basketball
The NBA Trade Deadline is More About the Money Than the Players

The highly anticipated NBA trade deadline ended at 3pm (EST) on Thursday afternoon for the 2013-2014 season. In the past, the NBA trade deadline had more gossip and drama leading up to it than a soap opera about to reach its season finale. However, the 2014 NBA trade deadline ended with an anti-climactic dud.

There were close to 30 players that were traded leading up to Thursday’s deadline, but the bulk of these players were not starters on their respective teams. The majority of these players were role players that had little to no impact for their current team and will probably have that same amount of impact for the teams that they were traded to. The biggest transaction of the day was a trade that took place between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Indiana Pacers with the Sixers shooting guard Evan Turner and for Pacers small forward Danny Granger trading places.

So, why were there so many pieces moved around on Thursday, when the bulk of these players were nothing more than role players at best? Money. M-O-N-E-Y. The majority of these trades were salary dumps so that teams could either avoid paying the luxury tax or set themselves up for a future free agent signing in the upcoming summer.

The current NBA salary cap for the 2013-2014 season is $58.6 million. This means that all of the teams over the salary cap were doing everything mathematically possible to avoid paying the hefty luxury tax before the trade deadline had passed. In the modern era of the NBA, trades have less and less to do with constructing a championship team, and more and more to do with saving money. There are only a handful of teams that have a shot at winning the NBA title every year and if you are not one of them, your next goal should be to get lottery picks and avoid the luxury tax.

Here is a summary of what the active teams did leading up to Thursday’s deadline.

11. The Los Angeles Lakers Traded Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors for MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore

Steve Blake

The Golden State Warriors used their $4 million trade exception that they acquired in a deal for Andre Iguodala last summer with Denver to make the deal contractually work. Additionally, the trade allows the Warriors to go about $400,000 under the luxury tax.

10. The Milwaukee Bucks traded Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour to the Charlotte Bobcats for Ramon Sessions

Ramon Sessions

Gary Neal was only set to make $3.25 million this year, while Sessions was set to make $5 million, so the Bucks insisted that they throw in Ridnour’s $4 million contract to make the deal work in their favor. The shedding of Neal and Ridnour’s contract will now save the Bucks $2 million this year and $3.25 million next year.

9. In a Three-Way Trade, the Denver Nuggets Traded Andre Miller to the Washington Wizards for Jan Vesely, while the Philadelphia 76ers Acquired Eric Maynor Along with Two Second-Round Picks

Andre Miller

Andre Miller is on a $5 million contract this year, but has a non-guaranteed $4 million contract next year. If the Wizards are not thrilled with what they are getting out of the veteran point guard, his stay at the nation’s capital could be nothing more than a rental.

8. The Miami Heat traded Roger Mason Jr. Along with an Undisclosed Amount of Cash to the Sacramento Kings for a Protected Second-Round Pick.

Roger Mason Jr.

Had the Heat waived Roger Mason earlier in the season, they would not have been obligated to pay his full salary of $1.4 million. However, since they chose to keep Mason up until the deadline, they had no choice but to trade him away to avoid paying a higher luxury tax. The amount of cash that the Heat have given to the Kings will be disclosed in the next few days. The silver lining is that the Heat will have an additional roster spot and can acquire a player that may have been recently waived and bought out.

7. The San Antonio Spurs traded Nando De Colo to the Toronto Raptors for Austin Daye

Nando de Colo, Kris Humphries

De Colo is on his rookie contract for $1.4 million, while Daye makes even less this year, with a salary of $947,000 that includes a partially guaranteed contract next year. The Spurs were loaded at the point guard position, shed half a million dollars, and saw some potential in the 6’11 small forward, Daye, who was a former lottery pick in the 2009 draft.

6. The Los Angeles Clippers Traded Antawn Jamison and Cash to the Atlanta Hawks for Cenk Akyol

Antawn Jamison

The 59th pick from the 2005 draft, Akyol, was another case of a salary dump, since he will most likely never step foot on a NBA court and the Hawks will most likely buy out Antawn Jamison’s $1 million salary.

5. The Los Angeles Clippers Trade Byron Mullens and a Future Second-Round Pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for a Conditional Second-Round Pick.

Byron Mullens

Shedding Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens contract trims the Clippers payroll another $1.7 million, making them only $262,000 over the salary cap.

4. The Philadelphia 76ers Sent Spencer Hawes to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Their 2014 Second Round Pick and a 2014 Memphis Grizzlies Second Round Pick

Spencer Hawes

Hawes has a $6.6 million contract that expires this year, so it was a cost cutting part on the part of the Sixers and a low-risk, high-reward signing on the Cavaliers end.

3. The Houston Rockets Traded Aaron Brooks to the Denver Nuggets in Exchange for Jordan Hamilton

Aaron Brooks, Jeff Ayres

After trading away Andre Miller, the Nuggets were in serious need of a back-up point guard and Aaron Brooks had fallen out of the rotation in Houston. Brooks was a former All-Star in 2010 and if in the right system, he can easily flourish again as the point guard of a high octane offense.

2. The Sacramento Kings Traded Marcus Thornton to the Brooklyn Nets for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans.

Marcus Thornton

Marcus Thornton is due $8.05 million this season and $8.575 million next season, so this was a cost cutting move on the part of the Kings. The Brooklyn Nets, however, had no problems adding another mid-level contract onto their payroll. With the addition of Marcus Thornton, the Brooklyn Nets are now at over $180 million on their payroll. When you factor in all of the luxury tax fees, in addition to their current payroll, it tallies to over $200 million – the highest by far in the NBA.

1. The Indiana Pacers Sent Danny Granger and a Future 2015 Second-Round Pick to the 76ers for Evan Turner

Danny Granger, Louis Williams

The biggest trade that went down on Thursday was between the Indiana Pacers and the Philadelphia 76ers. For the Sixers this was your classic salary dump trade. Danny Granger is coming off of a $14 million contract that expires after this season and the Sixers had no intention of resigning Evan Turner for an over inflated amount after his contract was up.

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