Prior to the draft, trading options are severely limited. Free agents, restricted or otherwise, cannot be traded. Players with ETOs or player options cannot be traded. Teams who will have millions in cap space this summer can't use a dime of it until after July 1st. Of course, there are always exceptions, and that's what we'll talk about after the jump.
We're talking about trade exceptions, which occur when a team trades a player and takes back less money in the deal. The exceptions can't be combined, nor split, and they expire one year after they're created. They can, however, be used prior to the draft, and prior to the turning of the NBA salary cap calendar in early July.
It's with this in mind that I took a hard look at the current trade exceptions floating around the league to find a possible match. Check out ShamSports to see the entire list.
Lou Williams ($4,972,500) to Orlando for the #29 pick in the draft. (Orlando uses their trade exception, created by the Hedo Turkoglu sign-and-trade last summer. The exception expires 7/9, it's value is $6,864,200).
Analysis: This move probably gets the Sixers under the luxury tax in one fell swoop, they also add a late first-round pick and a trade exception ($4,972,500) which they can use at any time in the next year. Orlando gets a guard off the bench who can break down the defense off the dribble. Williams is also more adept at finding bigs out of the pick-and-roll than Jameer Nelson. Both skills the team is sorely lacking.
Thaddeus Young ($2,105,400) to the New Orleans Hornets for the #11 pick (New Orleans uses their trade exception, created by the Hilton Armstrong trade. The exception expires 9/9 and is valued at $2,801,198).
Analysis: The Sixers would pick up a draft pick that could equal Ekpe Udoh or Hassan Whiteside. New Orleans only adds about $1.2M in salary (the difference between Thad's salary and that of the #11 pick), they get a small forward with a bit of polish, something they don't have anywhere on their roster. They also have an escape clause after this season if Thad doesn't live up to expectations. Most mock drafts have the Hornets taking a big man at #11, but they have a ton of money tied up in Okafor and West. They need a wing, and the pickings are slim when you get outside of the top 6 in this draft.
I looked around for Option C, but there all just variations on the same theme. Orlando is the only team with an exception big enough to take Lou's contract off our hands, so they're our only chance to trade Lou for a pick, straight up. No one is going to take Jason Smith off our hands, not unless we send a pick along with him. Speights is a possibility, in the same way Thad is, and I'd be tempted, depending on where the pick is and who's available.