Since about three minutes after David Stern and Billy Hunter sat bleary-eyed in a New York conference room to say they reached a deal, we have been talking trades.
Specifically Chris Paul and Dwight Howard trades. The two superstar, franchise cornerstone guys who can opt out as free agents next summer and may push their way out of their current teams this season.
But why are we talking trades now before teams can even talk directly to players, and why are some people around those players pushing for trades fast? Like before the season if possible.
Those two guys want to be traded early enough so that under the new rules their Bird rights transfer with them. They can’t do what Carmelo Anthony did last year — the new labor rules say if you do an extend-and-trade the new contract can only be for what the team could have signed you for as a free agent. No Bird rights deals.
So how you get those bigger deals is to get traded without an extension then become a free agent and re-sign there. How much money are we talking? The best breakdown I saw (and a great explanation of how everything works) is from Chris Sheridan over at Sheridanhoops.com.
Here are the options for the two big stars.
• Plays the entire season in Orlando, opts out and ends up elsewhere (either by signing as a free agent or through a sign-and-trade): $80.5 million for 4 years.
• Gets traded in February, opts out, then re-signs with the team that acquired him: $110.8 million for 5 years.
• Plays the entire season in New Orleans, opts out and ends up elsewhere (either by signing as a free agent or through a sign-and-trade): $75.8 million for 4 years.
• Gets traded in February, opts out, then re-signs with the team that acquired him: $100.2 million for 5 years.
We’re talking about a lot of money.
Because of that, you can bet that you are going to keep hearing about trades for these guys because the people around them (cough *agents* cough) will keep pushing it. Because it’s about the money. Always.