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Devin Brown Traded For Aaron Gray, Hornets Inch Closer To Luxury Tax Line

We have a real trade! And it’s … kind of minor.

Still, there are some interesting implications. What’s the trade, you ask? According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the New Orleans Hornets have traded starting shooting guard Devin Brown to the Chicago Bulls for Aaron Gray.

The trade makes sense for the Bulls, who are struggling to find production in the backcourt and have picked up a so-so piece for absolutely nothing. What’s less clear is why New Orleans elected to do this. The primary motivation is money — the Hornets could stand to make as much as $5 million extra if they wiggled their way under the luxury tax — but this trade only saved them just over $100,000, meaning they still are about $423,000 over the luxury tax. In other words, the Hornets traded their starting shooting guard to cut 20 percent of their luxury tax bill. Brown’s not great, and backup Marcus Thornton might be better, but that’s not going to make Chris Paul happy.

It’d be one thing if the Hornets actually got themselves fully under the luxury tax by trading a key rotation player, but it’s another when you only get 20 percent closer to your goal. Don’t tell me Aaron Gray’s going to help them, because Gray’s done nothing for a pretty shallow Chicago frontcourt. If the Hornets think Gray can help them more than Brown, they’re definitely mistaken.

I’m going to have to give New Orleans a pretty low grade for this one.