According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, it is expected that the NBA will grant an extension on existing traded player exceptions that had a week or so remaining when the lockout started.
That means Cleveland should have a $14.5 million U.S. chip to play with from the LeBron James sign-and-trade and the Raptors still have about $9 million left on their own Chris Bosh trade exception.
Bryan Colangelo has only ever given indications that the team won’t be using the rest of the TPE, but if they do, here are some players teams might be looking to dump in order to improve their cap situations.
Sure they can amnesty players, but this lets them get rid of them without paying the rest of the contract.
The Raptors have five roster spots to fill and only $7 million in cap space (plus an extra $2.9 million when the season starts and Jonas Valanciunas remains in Lithuania) so spending the entire exception is extremely unlikely. But they could grab a player making, say $3.5 million with part of it and still have $3.5 million of the mid-level exception (which is $5 million total to spend).
Once the season starts they would have an extra $2.9 million (from the Valanciunas cap hold) to round out the roster with low or minimum salary players.
Trading for a player using the TPE avoids the hassle of overpaying on a free agent and/or having to negotiatie with the other 29 teams for said free agents.
Who might be available that might make even a small amount of sense?
Kirk Hinrich, Hawks. Hinrich would be a nice fit, especially if/when Jose Calderon get injured, but if Calderon stays healthy, there wouldn’t be enough point guard minutes to go around and Jerryd Bayless wouldn’t get the time he needs. Jeff Teague has replaced Hinrich as the starter, but he remains valuable. Still, going over the cap for Hinrich doesn’t seem like something Colangelo would consider, rightly so.
Kyle Korver, Bulls. Raptors could use a shooter and a backup swingman. Korver’s a lot more consistent from outside than Linas Kleiza.
Ronnie Brewer, Bulls. Can’t shoot, but an athletic, Dwane Casey-esque defender. If the Bulls can land Arron Afflalo, Brewer could be expendable for cap reasons.
Daniel Gibson or Ramon Sessions, Cavs. Both make too much money, but would add depth at PG.
Corey Brewer, Mavericks. Another great defender who Casey likes with limited offence. Mavs want to bring back Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea and cutting Brewer for nothing could help them lower their luxury tax penalties.
Chris Andersen, Nuggets. Expensive, but a great shot blocker who might fit well next to Andrea Bargnani.
Brandon Rush, Pacers. Raptors once had interest. Not a lot of minutes for Rush in Indiana with Paul George emerging and George Hill likely to play in same backcourt as Darren Collison at times.
Keyon Dooling, Bucks. Cheap veteran to add depth at the point.
Luke Ridnour, Wolves. With Ricky Rubio coming over and Jonny Flynn remaining, hard to see both Ridnour and Flynn staying in Minnesota.
Jordan Farmar/Anthony Morrow, Nets. New Jersey is trying to open up as much cap space as possible. Morrow can shoot the lights out.
Lou Williams, Sixers. A long-shot, but if Andres Nocioni is waived and Williams also comes off books, Sixers would have a bit of money to spend.
Raja Bell, Jazz. Good veteran leader probably wants to go to a contender but would be a good add to the locker room. Utah probably doesn’t have a lot of minutes to offer Bell with young players capable of playing the 2/3.