The Toronto Raptors announced Friday that they have traded Cory Joseph to the Indiana Pacers for the draft rights to Emir Preldzic.
This, of course, is the precursor to the announcement that they have signed unrestricted free agent C.J. Miles. Initially reported as a sign-and-trade, the Raptors are structuring this as two separate deals so that Miles can get a two-year deal with a third-year option, a structure that’s not allowed in a sign-and-trade. Instead, the Raptors will create a trade exception in the amount of Joseph’s salary to use at another time (if they even intend to add still) and sign Miles using their non-taxpayer mid-level exception.
Either the full mid-level or a sign-and-trade would have hard-capped the Raptors, so there’s not much difference here in that sense. This is a means of giving Miles the deal he wanted and avoiding giving him an option on a fourth year, with the only real cost being the added complexity of having to acquire a new signing via sign-and-trade. But again, the Raptors may not be adding, anyway, given their proximity to the luxury tax and tax apron, and they are armed with their bi-annual exception and a pair of trade exceptions now. Please don’t get hung up in “Joseph dealt for nothing” – it’s mostly the same deal as before, just structured differently (and nothing may have even changed on their end – it just may have been misreported initially).
Yes, the way it’s structured shows Joseph out for nothing in a salary dump, but that space was required to use the MLE on Miles without crossing the hard cap; it’s just salary cap massaging. If they’re done now, they might be able to avoid the tax and save the two trade exceptions for next July. If they still want to add, there are means of doing so, they just might have to manage a sign-and-trade if it’s a player getting more than $3.3 million. Don’t get too hung up on the details.
As for Preldzic, he was a 2009 second-round pick of the Phoenix Suns. Now 29 and playing a bench role in the Turkish league, his draft rights essentially amount to currency (because teams have to send something out in trade), like with DeeAndre Hulett.