January 17, 2023, 10:49 pm
GM: William Harris, @williamisbill
Salary Cap: $121,637,370
Luxury Tax: $28,629,630
GOAL: Become sellers at deadline & embrace the tank!
• Assess what you can get off Gordon Hayward’s money for
o If you can get any sort of value for him, move him
o Charlotte may bring back Miles Bridges and wants to re-sign PJ Washington. Plus LaMelo will likely sign rookie max extension this offseason, and things will get expensive in Charlotte fast
• Dangle Terry Rozier in trade talks for this same reason, but would need legitimate value back for him
o Suggested trade: Rozier & Hayward to Lakers for Westbrook + ‘27 & ‘29 firsts
• Likely trade Kelly Oubre, as he’s an expiring deal
o Suggested trade: Oubre to Knicks for Derrick Rose + pick(s)
• Ditto for Mason Plumlee
• Consider moving PJ Washington, as he’s about to get really expensive this offseason
Players to Dangle
Gordon Hayward (2/$61.6)
o Would Indiana be willing to take him on?
o Hometown kid, may be further along rebuild than anticipated, veteran presence
o Salary: $30,075,000
o Can salary match up to $37,693,750
Terry Rozier (4/$96.2)
o May be able to get legitimate value for him
o Salary: $21,486,316
o Can salary match $26,957,895
Kelly Oubre Jr. (1/$12.6)
o Salary: $12,600,000
o Can salary match up to $17,600,000
o He’s an expiring deal and unlikely to re-sign so get what you can for him
o Target teams for trade:
• Brooklyn Nets
• Chicago Bulls (if they don’t become sellers)
• Cleveland Cavaliers
• Dallas Mavericks
• Golden State Warriors
• Los Angeles Lakers
• Miami Heat
• Milwaukee Bucks
• New York Knicks (My personal favorite target: There’s been interest in Oubre in the past, can package D Rose expiring deal and pick for him)
• Phoenix Suns
• Sacramento Kings
Mason Plumlee (1/$9.1)
o Salary: $9,080,417
o Can match up to $14,080,417 for just him
PJ Washington (1/$5.8)
o He wants a substantial pay day this summer, at least listen to offers on him to see his value in the open market
o Salary: $5,808,435
• 2023 DEN 1st (lotto protected; likely to convey)
• 2023 1st (top 16 protected to SAS)
• 2024 1st (lotto protected to SAS if 2023 not conveyed)
• 2025 1st (lotto protected to SAS if ‘23 or ‘24 not conveyed)
• 2026 1st
• 2027 1st
• 2028 1st
• 2029 1st
• 2023 UTA 2nd
• 2023 BOS 2nd (31-45 protected)
• 2023 2nd (least favorable of OKC & DAL & more favorable of DAL & MIA)
• 2025 2nd
• 2026 and 2027 2nd (to San Antonio if ‘23-’25 firsts not conveyed)
• 2028 2nd
• 2029 2nd
Mock Trades to Date (Feb 2 Deadline)
Kings and Hornets swap backup big men
TRADE: Kings trade Richaun Holmes, Neemias Queta, and their 2024 second-round pick to the Hornets for Mason Plumlee
When Domantas Sabonis is healthy, Richaun Holmes has been an afterthought in the Kings rotation. Here, they flip him with a second round pick for Plumlee. Holmes has a guaranteed season under contract next year as well as a player option in 2024-25, and at over $12 million per year, that’s an overpay for your backup center. Here, Sacramento gets off his money and gets what they perceive to be an upgrade with Plumlee. Additionally, Plumlee thrived when he was Nikola Jokic’s backup in Denver because the Nuggets were able to play a similar offense with either on the court because they had a passing big man on the court at all times. The Kings can do something similar with Sabonis and Plumlee.
For the Hornets, Holmes can be a part of their center rotation along with breakout rookie, Mark Williams. Our Hornets GM, William Harris, also highly valued Neemias Queta as a flier. However, with Holmes’ money on the books now, I anticipate the Hornets making a subsequent move or two to shed future money, as they are about to get expensive once LaMelo Ball’s rookie extension is signed and in effect.
Pacers finally get their power forward
TRADE: Pacers trade Jalen Smith, Cavs 2023 1st round pick (lottery protected) to the Charlotte Hornets for PJ Washington and two 2023 2nds (least favorable of OKC and WAS and more favorable of DAL and MIA)
It’s one of the worst kept secrets in the NBA this season that the Pacers are in pursuit of a legitimate starting power forward. While guys like John Collins are available on the trade market, the Pacers opted for PJ Washington. Washington is going to be a restricted free agent this summer, so Indiana may need to pay him in the $17 million per year range to keep him, but he fits their roster well. The Pacers also have three first-round picks in 2023, so giving up Cleveland’s 2023 1st is not a big deal, as that’s a pick in the 20s somewhere. PJ Washington can stretch the floor alongside, as can Myles Turner, which will allow Indiana to play a five-out system and space the floor well. He can also play the small-ball five in spurts as well, demonstrated from his time in Charlotte.
For Charlotte, they realistically will have a tough time paying PJ Washington what he expects to be paid this summer, as they’re approaching LaMelo Ball’s rookie extension and may need to pay Miles Bridges at some point. Here, they got not only the first round pick they coveted for Washington, but a cost-controlled stretch four that does a lot of things similar to PJ Washington with Jalen Smith. Smith is on the books for just over $5 million next year and then has a player option of $5.8 million in 2024-25, which is a lot more palpable for the Hornets to stomach rather than paying PJ Washington this summer.
Bucks add depth
Please note that this trade was expanded to a four-team deal: The Milwaukee Bucks trade Jordan Nwora and George Hill to the Charlotte Hornets for Cody Martin and Nick Richards
This was a cheap way for the Bucks to add wing depth. As I’ve reiterated countless times on the Bird Rights Podcast, there is no such thing as too much wing depth in today’s NBA. Here, the Bucks gave up Nwora and George Hill for Cody Martin and took on Nick Richards. They were able to retain all of their draft capital and are trying to make a subsequent move involving Grayson Allen and some of those picks. Hill is not a rotation player for Milwaukee at this point, and Nwora always felt like he was bound to be traded once he signed that contract this summer. Cody Martin, meanwhile, has two more years on his deal after this year with a non-guaranteed season in 2025-26 at a very manageable $7-$8.6 million per year. As long as the Bucks are competitors, they seem willing to pay the tax, and if things change, Martin has a very tradeable contract.
For Charlotte, they get Cody Martin off their books. They also get a 1.5 year flier on Jordan Nwora, who fits in well with their core. This deal saved the Hornets at least over $16 million in long-term committed money. While Charlotte could’ve pushed for some sort of draft capital, they’ve already added multiple picks through other trades and were content getting off the money.
Bulls blow it up
Bulls receive: Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Nick Richards, MarJon Beauchamp, 2027 Lakers 1st, 2029 Lakers 1st, 2029 Bucks 1st, 2028 Bucks 1st-round swap, and Trailblazers 2024 2nd
Bucks receive: DeMar DeRozan, Cody Martin, Damian Jones, Goran Dragic, Javonte Green
Hornets receive: George Hill and Jordan Nwora
Lakers receive: Zach LaVine, Joe Ingles, Grayson Allen, Wesley Matthews
SportsEthos has already posted a trade involving the Hornets and Bucks where the Bucks received Cody Martin and Nick Richards for George Hill and Jordan Nwora. For financial reasons, this trade had to be expanded to a four team deal to make it work.
The last day of our mock trade deadline and the Bulls decided to blow it up. They traded LaVine and DeRozan for major cap flexibility, a former first-round pick, three unprotected firsts and a swap. However, the firsts are in 2027, 2028, and 2029, so this could potentially be a long rebuild for Chicago. Unfortunately, Chicago will likely lose their 2023 first round pick, as Orlando owns it top-four protected so the Bulls don’t exactly have incentive to lose this year. However, with DeRozan aging and LaVine’s knees not getting younger, they executed on a deal that helps their future, financial flexibility and they got decent value. Russell Westbrook’s $47 million deal is expiring after this season, so the Bulls could theoretically become a cap space team this summer and add pieces around guys like Ayo Dosunmu, Alex Caruso, Patrick Williams, and the newly acquired Obi Toppin. Additionally, they still have Nikola Vucevic and his expiring deal on the books and can let him walk or sign-and-trade him this summer to a contender. Either way, the Bulls have major financial flexibility now with newly found draft compensation.
For the Bucks, they saw they struck out on finding a third team in their pursuit for Jae Crowder, and they were dangling Grayson Allen to everybody. When Chicago said they were willing to move both DeRozan and LaVine in one fell swoop, Milwaukee pounced. Their 2029 first is their only first they were able to trade, and of course they added the swap in 2028. They acquired DeRozan to pair with Giannis, Middleton, and Holiday and in addition to Brook Lopez, that’s a very formidable starting lineup. However, Milwaukee does not have much wing or guard depth outside of Cody Martin and Connaughton. Bobby Portis will be the first big off the bench to spell either Lopez or Giannis, and Dragic will be the backup ball-handler. However, Milwaukee has two open roster spots after this move, so they can always acquire a buyout guy before March 1st.
For the Lakers, first of all, Zach LaVine is a Klutch client. Secondly, he played his college ball at UCLA. Third of all, when LaVine was first a restricted free agent after he was traded to Chicago, he signed an offer sheet with Sacramento that was subsequently matched. This summer, the Bulls were the only team that were really able to pay LaVine. I mention this because things may not be as peaches and cream in Chicago for LaVine as they appear, and LA is a place he can call home between his connections to Klutch and his previous experience playing college ball in LA. The Lakers also did not want to give up those highly coveted 2027 and 2029 unprotected firsts for just LaVine, so they demanded role players back as well. In total, they netted LaVine, Grayson Allen, Joe Ingles, and Wesley Matthews. The Lakers suddenly are a force to be reckoned with.