Trade Buzz: Teams trudge cautiously toward deadline
The usual trade deadline frenzy might yet be upon us before 3 p.m. ET Thursday. But for now, team executives believe the new trade and financial rules have had a chilling effect on the discussions.
Teams have become hypersensitive to the enhanced luxury-tax penalties and looming repeater tax, so the days of easily dumping long-term salary in exchange for a draft pick are effectively over. Plenty of teams are seeking draft picks and young talent, but those teams possessing such prized commodities aren’t willing to easily give them up.
Teams that have used their full mid-level exception this season (Boston) or bi-annual exception (Chicago) are hard-capped at $74 million. Without a third team to absorb salary, it’s going to be challenging for such teams to pull off a blockbuster trade. A team like Brooklyn is allowed to exceed the $74 million hard cap because it has not used one of those exceptions, so the Nets have more room to maneuver.
The only area of increased urgency to complete trades by Thursday’s deadline as opposed to this summer would be deals involving prospective free agents. With players like Al Jefferson and Josh Smith, Utah and Atlanta, respectively, might want to consider moving them now because there will be far fewer potential trade partners in July. Why? Starting this summer, teams whose post-trade payrolls exceed the luxury-tax line by more than $4 million will not be permitted to acquire a player in a sign-and-trade. So if the Nets want Dwight Howard, for example, it would be much easier to acquire him now.