The shame of the NBA trading deadline is that it does not follow the post-Christmas “Boxing Day” tradition of Canada and other countries, where you spend the day after sorting out the junk from the actual gifts.
In the NBA, it remains an all-in-one process, which is why, in this space over the past few days, you’ve read entries of, essentially, two(or more)-for-one packages that have been floated by potential deadline sellers.
Basically, the process has become a joke, a Henny Youngman-type joke, as in, “Take my Turkoglu, please.” (Kids, if you don’t get it, ask your parents or anyone who has vacationed in the Catskills.)
This is where the NBA, with its impending more-punitive luxury tax, has delivered us.
It is why some of the Dwight Howard speculation regarding deals that match up for Howard’s $18 million salary is wrong. The starting price in matching salaries is closer to $29 million, because you had better be prepared to take on Hedo Turkoglu’s salary, as well.
Ditto for Andrew Bogut reportedly coming on the market, but only if Stephen Jackson rides out of town on a sidecar.
Or the Wizards’ current plus-one offer of JaVale McGee with Andray Blatche along for that ride.
Until now, the term “trade kicker” when it came to a move was the added salary percentage a player would get if dealt. Now it actually embodies, well, an actual body.
For a team like Orlando, it’s almost mandatory, because even if you remove Howard’s $19.5 million 2012-13 salary from their payroll, the Magic only would drop to $48 million against the cap, hardly room for a replacement. Take away Turkoglu’s $12 million for 2012-13 as well, and at least there is wiggle room for some type of post-Dwight replacement part.
The two (or more)-for-one sales are not unique only to the Magic, Bucks and Wizards. Virtually every team that lived large under the less-punitive tax of the previous collective-bargaining agreement now is left with at least one salary skeleton in its closet, in each case a player underperforming a contract that extends beyond this season.
Among the plus-ones who could find themselves along for the ride at Thursday’s NBA trading deadline (with their 2012-13 salaries):
Atlanta’s Marvin Williams ($8.3 million).
Charlotte’s DeSagana Diop ($7.3 million).
Denver’s Chris Andersen ($4.5 million).
Los Angeles Clippers’ Ryan Gomes ($4 million).
Los Angeles Lakers’ Luke Walton ($5.8 million).
Minnesota’s Darko Milicic ($5.2 million).
New Jersey’s Jordan Farmar ($4.3 million).
New Orleans’ Jarrett Jack ($5.4 million).
Phoenix’s Hakim Warrick ($4 million).
Sacramento’s Francisco Garcia ($6.1 million).
Utah’s Raja Bell ($3.5 million).
Remember, though, a player acquired in a trade cannot later be subjected to the “amnesty” provision. So a team acquiring such a player, provided it has not already utilized the one-time provision, could not then simply discard the “plus-one” player via amnesty.
No, he (or at least his salary-cap burden) becomes theirs to keep.
Much like “Boxing Day,” there could be plenty left curbside this coming Friday.