HoopsHype’s salary cap expert Yossi Gozlan is providing updates and reactions on each major event at the trade deadline.
4:51 PM ET: Final wave of trades
Kyle Lowry surprisingly wasn’t traded. After weeks of anticipation that he would be traded, he will finish the season with Toronto.
The Heat pivoted by acquiring free-agent target Victor Oladipo for Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley, and a 2022 first-round swap. They are now just $747,071 below the luxury tax and $6.6 million below the apron. They are expected to sign LaMarcus Aldridge once he clears waivers. The prorated veteran minimum is currently $588,287, allowing them to finish the season under the tax. They could also offer him the Bi-Annual exception, but it would put them over.
Miami might have already completed their free agency. Assuming they want to re-sign Oladipo and Nemanja Bjelica, they can go over the salary cap to do so. This would allow them to also have access to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception. Good chance they’ll be limited to the taxpayer mid-level because the team could get very expensive by re-signing them as well as Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn as well.
The Rockets took what they could get for Oladipo and will face scrutiny for not taking Caris LeVert in the James Harden trade. Bradley, who has a team option for next season, and Olynyk, who is expiring, could potentially become buy-out candidates with the Rockets sliding down the standings. Olynyk has a trade bonus that will raise his salary by an additional $221,406.
The Warriors kept Kelly Oubre but got off Brad Wanamaker and Marquese Chriss. Prior to these trades, they were $40.4 million over the luxury tax for a $137.2 million tax payment. Now they’re $36 million over for a $115.6 million payment. They will probably get even more savings at the end of the year when the league recalibrates luxury tax payments for lost revenue. The Spurs are now $813,178 over the luxury tax but they can still get under if Aldridge surrenders at least that much in his buy-out.
And finally, the Evan Fournier trade expanded to include Jeff Teague heading to Orlando, and they joined the Celtics/Bulls trade to swap Daniel Theis and Javonte Green for Moritz Wagner and Luke Kornet. The Celtics are $1.99 million below the luxury tax, giving them some room to pursue someone on the buy-out market.
2:56 PM ET: Toronto clearing roster spots, Rondo to the Clippers
The Raptors have traded Matt Thomas to Utah and Terrence Davis to Sacramento. Toronto clears a roster spot in anticipation of a Lowry trade that could send them back a surplus of players. They’re now $5.3 million below the luxury tax, giving them some flexibility to avoid the tax in case they take on more salary in a Lowry deal.
Utah fills up their roster with the young shooter and don’t need to send back any players. They’re now $3.7 million over the luxury tax for a $5.5 million payment. They are also just $1.9 million below the apron, but that might not matter with their roster seemingly complete.
The Clippers finally get their traditional point guard by swapping Lou Williams and two second-round picks for Rajon Rondo. Even though Rondo earns $500,000 less than Williams, he has $750,000 in unlikely incentives that actually decrease the Clippers’ hard cap space. They go from $2.6 million to $2.4 million below. They still have plenty of flexibility to sign players in the buy-out market.
1:45 PM ET: Huge trade dump
We just got a lot of trades pretty quickly within the 3-hour mark.
The Nuggets are trading Aaron Gordon and Gary Clark for Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, and a first-round pick. This was a framework that was speculated on minus the inclusion of Evan Fournier. Cap-wise, both teams situations are unchanged but the Nuggets are setting themselves up for a very expensive roster. Michael Porter Jr. is up for an extension and Gordon is eligible for a $88M extension over four years this summer. Assuming he plays well, he should garner more on the open market. The Magic, meanwhile, are no longer looking like cap space team this offseason.
Miami is trading Moe Harkless and Chris Silva for Nemanja Bjelica. He was a natural target for the Heat’s $7.5 million trade exceptions which expired on Monday. Now the Magic get a stretch four and still have another move to make through the contracts of Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley. At this point, any deal for Kyle Lowry will require Andre Iguodala or Goran Dragic. The Heat also maintain their cap flexibility for 2021 with Bjelica on an expiring contract.
For the Kings, they get a shot at Silva and perhaps a rotational piece for the season in Harkless. They could also buy-out Harkless if he wants to go elsewhere. They also create a $2 million trade exception.
The Wizards go from $747,000 under the luxury tax to $2.3 million by trading Troy Brown and Moritz Wagner for Chandler Hutchinson and Daniel Gafford. They also clear $5.2 million of Brown’s money for next season and are now projected at around $10 million below next years luxury tax, which includes their 2021 lottery pick. Chicago gets some more depth pieces to help them compete now while also getting further away from having cap space this summer.
Oklahoma City acquires two more second-round pick for George Hill. They’ll also get to try out Tony Bradley for the rest of the season and create a $2.5 million trade exception they can add to their collection. Austin Rivers is non-guaranteed for the next two seasons, so unless they trade him before day’s end, he could be a buy-out candidate.
The Sixers turned the expiring contracts of Bradley, Terrence Ferguson, and Vincent Poirier into Hill and Ignas Brazdeikis. They are now $12.4 million over the luxury tax for a $22.4 million payment. The Knicks lose a bit of cap space. They currently have just over $13.5 million in cap space.
And finally, the Raptors trade Norman Powell to Portland for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood. The Blazers are getting a significant upgrade over Trent, who was set to get a big contract this summer in restricted free agency. Now they’ll probably have to pay more to keep Powell, they’ll likely be in the luxury tax next season.
Trent has a small $2.1 million cap hold which is very valuable to Toronto. They could spend all their cap space and then go over the cap to re-sign Trent to what he commands. They can generate around $22 million in cap space assuming they get a mid-to-late lottery pick, and they waive all non-guaranteed contracts except Chris Boucher. Newly acquired Hood is non-guaranteed for next season, so it’s possible that the Raptors buy him out now since they will likely cut him this offseason.
Update: 11:36 PM ET
The Thunder can actually stick Rivers and Bradley into their Kelly Oubre trade exception which would allow them to create a $9.6 million trade exception for Hill. It’s either keep their $7.38 million trade exception and create a $2.55 million trade exception, or scrap both for the bigger $9.6 million one.
11:45 AM ET: Evan Fournier traded to Boston
Evan Fournier is headed to Boston for two second-round picks and will go into the Gordon Hayward TPE, of which they now have roughly $11 million left. The Celtics are now $1.9 million over the luxury tax and just $1.3 million below the apron. Boston is currently projected at just $4 million below next season’s luxury tax, which could make re-signing Fournier complicated. He might just be a rental for them given how little they gave up.
Orlando will create a whopping $17.2 million TPE for Fournier. With a TPE that big, they could forgo having cap space and operate over the cap with it. This would allow them to keep the Bird rights to their free agents and use the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception. They’re also currently $21.8 million below the luxury tax. Between this and the Vucevic trade, the Magic have cleared almost $20 million off their payroll for this season.
We still need more information such as which player the Celtics will send back to Orlando or waive to make room for Fournier.
11:30 AM ET: Nikola Vucevic is headed to Chicago
This one was completely unexpected. Chicago gets super aggressive and trade Wendell Carter and two first-round picks to Orlando for Nikola Vucevic. They also take on Al-Farouq Aminu who has one year left on his deal. They’re sending out Otto Porter too, who could immediately become a buy-out candidate.
Looking ahead, they might have placed themselves out of having cap space this offseason. They could’ve generated over $25 million with Porter expiring. Now with Vucevic and Aminu on the books, they can get to around $24 million, but it would require waiving Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky. It’s safe to say that after going all-in on Vucevic, that won’t happen. We still need to see what happens with Lauri Markkanen today.
Orlando gains a bit more flexibility as they go from $2.8 million below the luxury tax to $4.6 million. They could gain even more flexibility if they move Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier. This was a haul and a true sell-high trade to net Carter and two first-round picks for Vucevic. This will give them a lot more flexibility and options to build around Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz, and their upcoming lottery pick.
They are also close to becoming a cap space team this offseason. Assuming they get a top pick, they are currently projected to generate between $12-15 million. Trading Gordon for expiring contracts could get them close to maximum cap space. Orlando also creates a $4.3 million trade exception worth the difference of Aminu and Carter’s salaries, but good chance it goes unused if they plan on having cap space.
7:22 AM ET: JaVale McGee will make his anticipated return to... Denver
The Nuggets are trading Isaiah Hartenstein and two second-round picks to the Cavaliers for JaVale McGee. If the Nuggets aren’t sending anyone else back, then McGee will have to go into the Nuggets $9.5 million Jerami Grant TPE since Hartenstein isn’t enough to match for McGee. They could’ve preserved the TPE by sending out another minimum salary like Vlatko Cancar or PJ Dozier. They now only have $5.3 million of it remaining and are just $2.7 million below the luxury tax. The Nuggets now have a legitimate backup center despite signing so many big men this past offseason.
This is great business for Cleveland. They got a second-round pick from the Lakers to take on McGee, and they just got two more for him from Denver. They also get to take a shot on Hartenstein who should be their primary backup center for the rest of the season. Cleveland gains more flexibility as they’re now $6.3 million below the luxury tax, allowing them to make a bigger deal before the deadline passes.
Also, because Hartenstein is a pure minimum contract, he fits into the minimum exception. You can basically look at this deal from Cleveland’s perspective as two separate trades where they took in Hartenstein for nothing, then traded McGee for nothing. This allows them to create a $4.2 million TPE.
12:37 AM ET: Cory Joseph and two second-round picks for Delon Wright
Detroit is getting value for Delon Wright, who has had a nice bounceback season, while also creating flexibility for this summer. In fact, it appears that they might be trying to create cap space for this offseason. Cory Joseph has a $12.6 million salary but is only guaranteed for $2.4 million in 2021-22. If they waive him, they could get to the $12-14 million range for cap space, assuming they get a top 3 draft pick and they cut both Joseph and Rodney McGruder, who is completely non-guaranteed. That still isn’t enough cap space to actually utilize, so look for them to possibly trade another player on the books for next season. If they can get to the $20 million range, then they can make a run at someone.
Sacramento must view Wright as a part of their future to give up two second-rounders for him. Despite adding him, he doesn’t interfere with potential cap space because they weren’t projected to have any anyways. The Kings also create a $3.6 million trade exception in this trade.
Update: 1:48 AM ET
Sacramento might not be done. Prior to making this trade, the Kings were in a position to generate at least $10 million in cap space, with the ability to generate more with several cuts and small trades. Now they’re only projected to have around $5-6 million assuming they get a first-round pick in the 6-9 range. They need cap space if they’re going to re-sign Richaun Holmes to a competitive offer. His Early Bird rights allow the Kings to re-sign him to a four-year, $47 million contract that would start him out at around $10.5 million. He should garner more than that on the open market, requiring the Kings to use cap space to pay him more. They’ll need to get off a big contract or at least trade one for another who has a smaller salary. They don’t need to clear the money before the deadline, they could do it in the draft or even during the offseason. But if they keep Holmes past the deadline, it could be a good indication that they want to re-sign him and will create the cap space need to.
Wednesday, 4:21 PM ET: Woj: Lakers potential suitor for Kyle Lowry
Wow. This is a surprising development. According to Adrian Wojnarowski on the Woj & Lowe program, the Lakers are interested in Kyle Lowry. The Lakers could certainly make a competitive offer that matches or surpasses what Miami and Philadelphia are offering. Their most valuable chips include upcoming restricted free agent Talen Horton-Tucker and their 2027 first-round pick.
Matching salaries makes this a difficult task for the Lakers. They are just $1.51 million below the hard cap, meaning they essentially have to trade equal or more salary than Lowry’s $30.5 million. The salaries that get close include Dennis Schroeder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Are the Lakers willing to trim their depth for a bit more star power? And are those two players along with additional incentives too much? It certainly seems that way which makes this pursuit feel like a stretch.