clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cavaliers will trade Brendan Haywood's contract, but not for what they originally hoped

By moving the big man to a team with cap space, Cleveland would create a large trade exception they could then use to acquire another player.

The Cavaliers traded second-round pick Rakeem Christmas to the Pacers on Thursday, receiving in return a 2019 second round pick that they could use as a sweetener to entice a team to take on Brendan Haywood's non-guaranteed contract. Christmas was signed for four years by the Pacers.

Haywood's contract was considered a good trade chip coming into the offseason, as any team that acquired him could immediately waive the player and save around the $10.5 million his deal was worth. There were rumors about a possible trade with the Nets for Joe Johnson that fizzled out, leaving the Cavaliers without a lot of immediate options and an August deadline in which the contract becomes guaranteed.

The best available possibility they have left is to "rent" $10.5 million in cap space from a team that has it and create a trade exception worth the total amount of the contract. To do so, they needed an asset to attach to it to make a trade happen and now they have it in the form of the Pacers' pick.

Only the Trail Blazers and the 76ers have the cap space available to trade for Haywood's contract without making any moves and either team should welcome the opportunity to get a pick just for having Haywood on their roster for a few minutes before waiving him. The 76ers in particular have made it a habit to use their cap space that way, in the past helping the Cavaliers pull off a similar move involving Keith Bogans that would eventually lead to the Timofey Mozgov trade.

If the Cavaliers make a trade, they would get a trade exception worth $10.5 million they can use to absorb a player via trade or claim a player off waivers. The exception expires after one year, which would give the front office plenty of time to find a use for it. The only downgrade from the non-guaranteed contract to the trade exception is that the exception can't be packaged with a player, which would limit the Cavaliers' flexibility a bit.

The Cavaliers have a massive payroll already and will be above the luxury tax line, which means that even if they get the exception, they will likely not be in any hurry to use it to add a player. It would, however, give them one more tool to make a deal in case of emergency. With all the injuries the team suffered last year, having that option should be comforting.

For now, all the signs point to the Cavaliers trading Haywood's contract to a team with cap space sometime in the next week and creating that trade exception to add to their war chest.


SB Nation presents: 'Space Jam 2' starring LeBron has to be better than the original