A three-way trade between the New Orleans Hornets, Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves is on hold due to salary-cap complications, reports SB Nation's Suns blog Bright Side of the Sun. The current framework of the trade violates NBA rules because the Hornets would be over the salary cap, and therefore, they must send out more salary to make the trade work.
The current arrangement has the following happening:
- Hornets acquire both Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick for the Suns
Wesley Johnson, Brad Miller and a first-round pick head from Minnesota to Phoenix
Jerome Dyson and two second-round picks head from New Orleans to Minnesota.
But that current trade does not work under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement. As Alex Laugan of Bright Side of the Sun notes:
After absorbing [Brad] Miller's contract, signing Ryan Anderson and using Bird Rights to match on Eric Gordon, the Hornets are now "over the cap" meaning that any trade they execute must be close in salaries (within 150%, plus 100k). In other words, the Hornets can no longer participate in lopsided trades. This rule was specifically designed to discourage teams from exceeding the collectively-bargained salary cap by making it harder to add salary. The Hornets are now in that boat.
This means that the Hornets cannot take on Lopez AND Warrick ($9 million total) unless they can combine Miller's expiring contract ($5 million) with other players on their roster, which is also against the rules.
The Hornets must therefore either add more salary to the deal, or the Suns must drop Warrick out of the trade. The three teams could also split the parts into separate transactions, as described by Laugan.
If the trade can not be revived, Warrick and Lopez would stay in Phoenix, and Lopez would play on his one-year, $4 million qualifying offer. Reports indicated the Hornets, if they acquired Lopez, would sign him to a three-year, $15 million deal.
For more on the Timberwolves, be sure to visit Canis Hoopus and SB Nation Minnesota. For more on the Suns, check out Bright Side of the Sun and SB Nation Arizona. SB Nation's Hornets blog is housed over at At The Hive.