On paper, the Miami Heat's involvement in a three-team trade with the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors looked like a swap of big man Joel Anthony for backup point guard Toney Douglas. In reality, it included a big change to the Heat's luxury tax bill, which will save president Pat Riley money, all while adding flexibility next season.
The move flipped Anthony's $3.8 million owed to him this season for Douglas' $1.6 million salary. Before the trade, ShamSports' Mark Deeks figured the Heat to be $11,780,143 over the luxury tax line, meaning the $2.2 million in salary savings drops the Heat's salary total to less than $10 million more than the tax line.
That's significant in playing the collective bargaining agreement.
Because the Heat are now less than $10 million above the luxury tax line, their tax rate falls from $2.50 per dollar to $1.75 per dollar, as shown in Larry Coon's CBA FAQ. Though Miami is still due to pay a $15.5 million tax bill, it's a far cry from the estimated $33 million owed before this move and the amnesty of forward Mike Miller this offseason, as ESPN's Brian Windhorst calculates.
Additionally, the trade opens up $3.8 million owed to Anthony next year, who had a player option for the 2014-15 season that he'd likely pick up. Douglas' contract expires after this season, so the deal also allows Miami more wiggle-room in signing a mid-level player.
Anthony had only appeared in 12 of Miami's 37 games this season and had totaled 37 minutes of court time. With the signing of Chris Andersen last season and the project of reviving big man Greg Oden's career, Anthony's role as a backup center seemed to be diminishing.
The three-team trade that became official Wednesday afternoon also sent Celtics guards Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks to the Warriors, who are in need of backcourt help for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Additionally, Miami shipped a lottery-protected Philadelphia 76ers first-round draft pick and its own 2016 second-round choice to Boston. The protected pick from the 76ers will likely not convey in the next few seasons since the team is rebuilding, and it will then become two second-round picks in 2016. Likewise, there's little reason for the Heat to tightly grip to their own second-round selection with the expectation that the core of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will remain a part of the team.