BY SAM AMICO
We all knew it was coming, and the Cavaliers finally unloaded Brendan Haywood’s contract Sunday night.
The deal was actually this, according to Yahoo Sports: Haywood, Mike Miller and two second-round draft picks to the Trail Blazers, and two trade exceptions totaling more than $13 million (and some cash) back to the Cavs.
Neither Haywood nor Miller is expected to play for the Blazers. And the Cavs may not even use their trade exceptions.
So basically, this deal was much ado about nothing and nobody. Neither team is really getting any players. At least, not any players that can help right now.
To top it off, most people don’t even know what a trade exception is, or how it can even benefit a team.
Well, in the Cavs’ case it’ll mean saving some money. And when you enter a season with three players on maximum-level contracts (LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving), saving some money will surely help.
Trade exceptions can also make it easier for the Cavs to land another valuable piece or two during the season. Here is how the situation was explained by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, who broke the news of the trade:
“The Cavaliers will have two separate trade exceptions — $10.5 million and $2.85 million — that they’ll have one calendar year to use. The Cavaliers can use a trade exception to acquire a player under contract in a deal. Those salaries count against the salary cap, but don’t impact luxury tax payments.”
Wojnarowski added: “The deal could spare the Cavaliers nearly $10 million in salary and luxury tax payments.”
Meanwhile, the Cavs fully expect to have a new deal in place for Tristan Thompson within the next month or so, although negotiations are ongoing.
The Haywood/Miller trade also increases the already strong likelihood of J.R. Smith returning with a new contract (albeit probably smaller in Year One than the $6.4 million out of which he opted).
As for restricted free agent Matthew Dellavedova, it appears the Cavs may be willing to let the market determine his value. If that’s the battle plan, it’s working in the Cavs’ financial favor — as Delly isn’t getting much attention these days.
Anyway, the trade of Haywood and Miller mostly just gives the Cavs a little more flexibility than they had before the deal. Not much, but every inch counts.
On the court? Well, it doesn’t really mean anything.
Miller only contributed 2.1 points last season and Haywood was even less of a factor than that. Both are great guys and professionals through and through — but their NBA days are winding down, if not over.
And the Cavs won’t be all teary eyed over losing second-round picks, either. Especially in 2019 and 2020, which are the picks shipped off in this deal.
As for the Blazers, this is just an opportunity to gain some assets. They are recovering from the loss or trade of four of their five starters from last season, including All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
They need help, and the second-round picks are valuable chips that can be floated in future trades.