Analyzing NBA Trade Market (Part 2)

After observing some of the more-publicized offseason trades in Part 1, we look at the rest of the dealing and wheeling here in Part 2.

Pistons Get: Ersan Ilyasova,

Bucks Get: Caron Butler, Shawne Williams

After everything that has transpired during the free agency period, this trade seems like it was processed during the Renaissance Era. The Bucks waived the contract compensation in Butler and Williams redefining the trade as a salary dump of Ilyasova’s $7.9 million cap hit. The new money derived from the deal granted the Bucks the cap space to throw a max offer at Greg Monroe so it was a well-measured weighing of pros and cons.


Meanwhile in Detroit, Ilyasova replaces Monroe alongside Andre Drummond, where his perimeter shooting will provide gullies of space for Drummond rim rolls compared to last season. Ilyasova is a traditional stretch-four meaning he provides shooting, but not much else in relation to the playmaking and defensive versatility that come naturally to players like Draymond Green. Ilyasova’s value depreciates if teams go small, but overall, the addition of anyone who is competent behind the 3-point line is a commendable move for the Pistons. And if things don’t work out, Ilyasova’s nonguaranteed $8.4 million salary in 2017 will result in a tidy trade chip.

Celtics Get: David Lee

Warriors Get: Gerald Wallace

To reach the pinnacle of their respective sport, organizations display a keen, indefatigable analysis of efficient cost-value estimates…and then other times they simply just get lucky. The Warriors were in a tight spot, trying to offload David Lee’s egregious 2016 salary of $15.5 million as his cap hit was set to cost about an additional $16.25 million in luxury tax payments, for a total of $31.75 million, as the team simultaneously tiptoed the line of the highest tax bracket. The Dubs were fortunate to wedge themselves from Lee’s salary and still maintain a full hand of future draft picks. Unlike Lee, the $10.1 million owed to Wallace this season is eligible for the stretch provision since his contract was signed under the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The stretch provision would reduce Wallace’s cap hit to just $3.36 million this season, equating to about $22.5 million in tax payment savings.

While Lee is a much more useful player than Wallace and his cloying contract number, Danny Ainge and the Celtics’ liberation of Golden State didn’t exactly fall in line with the cynical side of sports business. The Warriors were in need of a life preserver and Ainge ditched the concept of hardball and generously tossed it to them.

Hawks Get: Tiago Splitter

Spurs Get: 2017 2nd-round pick (top-55 protected)

A rare case of the win-win trade. The Spurs didn’t get fair value for Splitter with a draft pick that will likely fail to come to fruition, but briskly erasing Splitter’s salary from the books in time to engage in serious contract talks with prized free agent, LaMarcus Aldridge, was the end goal. Check for R.C. and Pop.


Acquiring Splitter without compromising future assets is a terrific get for the Hawks. Frontcourt depth was an issue last year for Atlanta, and that was with Pero Antic, who opted to play overseas this upcoming season. Counting on Mike Scott and Mike Muscala in a playoff game is a sign your season is about to abruptly end, and sure enough, it did. Splitter is a savvy third big whose passing and underrated defense can coexist with both Al Horford and Paul Millsap. Check for Budenholzer.

Spurs Get: Ray McCallum

Kings Get: 2016 2nd-round pick

When an organization is viewed as an embellishment of imbecility, it should refrain from doing business with the Spurs. The deal doesn’t appear radically shameful in the manner of other trades conducted by the Kings brass (coming later), but once Pop gets ahold of McCallum, the narrative could certainly change.

Mavericks Get: Zaza Pachulia

Bucks Get: 2018 2nd-round pick (top-55 protected)

Much like the Jared Dudley trade, Milwaukee jettisoning Pachulia came across as a move purely in an effort to save coin. Pachulia’s expiring $5.2 million salary relieved the Bucks of more space under the tax line, but the incentive may have been concocted as a youth movement and a push to give his backup center minutes to John Henson.

In Dallas, this is what DeAndre Jordan’s renege yields as a starting center option. It’s now clear Mark Cuban will refuse to authorize unused cap space and meet the company of the conference dwellers under any circumstances.

76ers Get: Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, 2018 1st-round pick (top-10 protected), 1st-round pick swap rights 2016 and 2017,

Kings Get: Arturas Gudaitis (47th overall), Luke Mitrovic (60th overall)

So about those radically shameful trades by the Kings…It isn’t fair to say Vlade Divac and Vivek Ranadive were duped by Sam Hinkie in a heist for the ages. It gives Hinkie too much credit.

vlade divac

This is the type of trade that incurs questioning across the NBA landscape as to whether Divac and Ranadive’s basketball knowledge extends beyond the basic understanding that the goal of the game is to put a ball through an orange rim[1]. Dumping salary is one thing, sending out golden assets for the kind-natured favor is another. It’s as if no one within the Kings organization understood the benefits or availability of the stretch provision as an alternate option to rid bad contracts. Or perhaps the acquisitions of Rajon Rondo and Marco Belinelli were so incredibly vital that paying $5.4 million for the stretched contracts of Landry and Thompson just wasn’t a doable proposition.

In the case of the Sixers, Hinkie strikes again! In light of the recent news of Joel Embiid undergoing another foot surgery and missing his second consecutive season, Sixers fans can look at this trade to rekindle their enthusiastic “Trust the Process” rallying cry.

Pistons Get: Marcus Morris, Danny Granger, Reggie Bullock

Suns Get: 2020 2nd-round pick

Irrational overconfidence. It was the biggest criticism of the Suns regarding the trade. LaMarcus Aldridge, like star free agents past (i.e. LeBron James) wasn’t going to take Phoenix’s pitch seriously, but then he did. In fact, the Suns’ appeal to Aldridge had enough influence to induce hesitation from LA concerning his commitment to the summit of sports organizations in San Antonio. But that’s what always happens. Phoenix can invoke interest, but not an actual John Hancock. However, even the chance of landing Aldridge was worth breaking up the Twinning All-Stars along with Granger and Bullock. Also as an added benefit the move frees up minutes for T.J. Warren who has shown promise getting buckets.

It may not have been the most excitable use of cap space in Detroit, but neither was handing Aaron Baynes $20 million. Morris is another option as a stretch four to tandem with Drummond, and although Bullock has yet to show much progression, he could still be salvaged as a rotational 3-and-D wing.

Everybody Gets: Luke Ridnour

Everybody Else Gets: Luke Ridnour

Where is Luke now????

Nets Get: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (23rd overall), Steve Blake

Trail Blazers Get: Mason Plumlee, Pat Connaughton (41st overall)

Out of the mid-to-late first-round selections, Hollis-Jefferson possesses one of the higher NBA ceilings. His athleticism is mesmerizing, and his defensive integrity immediately brought about Tony Allen comparisons, although he may not defend with the same energized insanity. His jumper needs work…a lot of work, but his off-ball cutting and understanding of offense fits the mold of a non-shooter. Blake was later flipped to Detroit for Quincy Miller.


Plumlee’s skillset compliments the game of Meyers Leonard well in Portland with his rim diving. He hasn’t displayed a natural feel as a rim protector on defense, but Plumlee’s greatest asset in Portland is his youth. Connaughton is that dude everyone roots for, hoping toughness and effort triumphs.

Celtics Get: Perry Jones III, 2019 2nd-round pick (via Detroit)

Thunder Get: 2018 2nd-round pick (top-55 protected)

A nice pickup for Ainge and the Celtics, while OKC chairman owner Clayton Bennett will appreciate the $7 million saved when factoring in luxury tax penalties. Jones had his moments last season while filling in for the injured Kevin Durant, and Boston affords him the opportunity to develop and assert himself at his own pace with minimal backlash.

Hornets Get: Jeremy Lamb

Thunder Get: 2016 2nd-round pick (56-60 protected, unprotected in 2017), Luke Ridnour

This is getting lengthy so….oh, and Luke was later traded….

Trail Blazers Get: Maurice Harkless

Magic Get: 2020 2nd-round pick (top-55 protected)

Great buy low from Portland for Harkless. He has some potential, but the wing rotation was too crowded in Orlando for him to get consistent minutes.

Knicks Get: Kyle O’Quinn

Magic Get: 2019 2nd-round swap rights (via Cleveland or Houston)

Analysis of the sign-and-trade is detailed here.

[1] Divac has the clear advantage over Ranadive because he also understands teams plays defense as well.


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