The San Antonio Spurs could be getting closer to clearing the cap space necessary to sign LaMarcus Aldridge to a maximum deal. They have talked with the Cavaliers about trading for Brendan Haywood's $10.5 million non-guaranteed contract, according to Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News.
Haywood has a unique contract structure that allows any team to acquire him in a trade for actual outgoing salary, then immediately waive him so he doesn't count on their cap sheet. That's why the Cavaliers have been shopping Haywood in hopes of adding another player to improve their roster.
The Spurs are a logical trade partner for Haywood's deal. As we explained in this comprehensive guide, San Antonio must trim salary to be able to offer Aldridge a maximum contract. Depending on what happens with the Spurs' other free agents, a deal for Haywood's contract might do the trick.
NBA Free Agency
The question is what players the Spurs could send to Cleveland in exchange. Tiago Splitter ($8.5 million next year) and Boris Diaw ($7.5 million) are the two players San Antonio would most like to trade, but Cleveland will have a deep frontcourt already assuming Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson return. Cleveland is reportedly seeking another ball-handler, so Patty Mills and his $3.5 million salary could be interesting to them. The Cavaliers could theoretically take Mills and either Diaw or Splitter off San Antonio's hands, though they may ask for additional assets from the Spurs for helping them out. A third team could be added to take Diaw or Splitter and leave Cleveland with Mills and perhaps another player.
(For those asking, the Cavaliers almost certainly cannot acquire Danny Green in a sign-and-trade for Haywood's contract. While Green would fit in perfectly, any sign-and-trade arrangement forces teams to operate at a hard cap of $85.6 million, as we explained here. The Cavaliers' payroll will be much, much greater than that assuming Love, Thompson and Iman Shumpert re-sign).
The two teams certainly match up as obvious trade partners, but there are still complications that could prevent a deal from happening.