After every transaction having to do with the Clippers, or a Clippers free agent, this summer, people seem to have one lingering question: can it be a sign-and-trade? Let's clear up the misconceptions around this issue:
- Can Spencer Hawes be signed-and-traded? Can the Clippers use their TPE? Why does this matter?
Yes! Spencer Hawes is the best candidate for a sign-and-trade. However, due to the rules where a TPE cannot be used in aggregation with outgoing players, that isn't an option here. A potential Hawes S&T would have to involve the Clippers sending back actual player salaries. Any of the following potential packages work financially: Jamal Crawford; Jared Dudley; Jared Dudley and Reggie Bullock; Matt Barnes and Reggie Bullock, along with a few other combinations. Cleveland would have to accept any deal, but as Steve Perrin noted earlier today:
If any team in the NBA could use one or more of the semi-serviceable players crowding the Clippers depth chart at small forward, it's the Cavs, who are losing Luol Deng and C.J. Miles this summer, and who missed badly on Earl Clark last year. Jared Dudley's trade value is next to nothing -- but given that the alternate for the Cavs is the aforementioned nothing, they are the one team who might actually take him. Frankly, they'd be stupid not to take Barnes or Bullock if the Clippers offer one of them.
This matters because it would basically re-allow the Clippers to use their full mid-level exception. Essentially, they could chase another Hawes-level player (probably on the wing) with the actual money and flexibility to carry out the move. They've been linked to Paul Pierce but it's unclear on how well he'd fit, and if he's capable of being the defensive upgrade the Clippers need. The team could also opt to split the MLE between multiple backup players, or use a portion of it now and save the other portion for a mid-season acquisition. The flexibility increases immensely.
- Can Jordan Farmar be signed-and-traded? Can the Clippers use their TPE? Why does this matter?
Maybe. Jordan Farmar could potentially be signed-and-traded using the TPE, but it's hard to see all parties cooperating, specifically Jordan. The Lakers do not have Farmar's bird rights, meaning that they can't offer him a large enough starting salary using his free agent rights. However, if the team cleared their massive amounts of cap holds in order to create space needed to sign free agents, then they could use part of that cap space to sign Farmar and trade him into the Clippers TPE. In return, the Lakers would get a new TPE of their own and some other basketball incentive, like a protected second round pick.
For Farmar, this would shake up how his contract is built. In a S&T, the player being signed-and-traded must have a contract of at least three years. This is built into the CBA to prevent teams from acquiring a player's bird rights after a one-year S&T deal, and then re-signing him for more the next summer. Currently, Farmar's reported deal is a 1+1 contract, with the 2014-15 season guaranteed and the 2015-16 season a player option. Presumably, Farmar structured his deal like he did so that he could re-build value and opt out next off-season for a bigger contract, a la Darren Collison. Making the deal a three-year contract, or even at best a two year deal with a player option for year three, presumably makes it a less desirable deal for Farmar.
The Lakers, on the other hand, don't even have Farmar's bird rights with which to sign him to a deal worth the bi-annual exception. They would have to first renounce cap holds to clear room, and then sign-and-trade Farmar with that room. Presumably, they'd get a second-round pick back for their trouble. It's certainly possible but if it doesn't fit in with the Lakers' other off-season plans it's not worth sacrificing other aspects of their plan.
For the Clippers, they could give Farmar a slightly higher salary, starting at $2,626,474 if they wanted to. This contract could now run for three or four years, shedding the bi-annual exception's limitations. At the end of a three-year deal (the minimum number for a S&T deal), the team would also have Farmar's bird rights. Most importantly, however, this would allow the Clippers to use their bi-annual exception on another player to strengthen their bench.
Ultimately, I could see the Clippers and Lakers being willing to do this deal, but I doubt that Farmar would be overly interested in it. But, if he would rather have a longer guaranteed contract and not worry about building value for his next deal, then it could be possible.
- Can Danny Granger be signed and traded? What can the Clippers get? Why does this matter?
No. Danny Granger will almost definitely not be signed-and-traded to the Miami Heat. Similarly to the Farmar situation, the Clippers do not have Granger's bird rights. The most money the Clippers could give him would be a little over $1.5 million, meaning the total salary would be about a million less than his reported 2 year, $4.2 million dollar deal. The Clippers also can't go the Lakers route outlined above. It would be far more difficult for the Clippers to clear room. All the Lakers have to do is renounce salary; the Clippers would have to trade away several players. And for what? A $2 million TPE and a second round pick? It's outlandish.
If Granger agreed to take a pay cut, and have that reduced salary for an additional year (remember S&T deals must be three seasons), then a deal could be made. But it's preposterous that a player who is clearly looking to re-establish himself next season and then claim a much larger contract would lock himself up at a lower rate for a longer period of time when he's already agreed to terms for the BAE.
Without giving him his own section, it's also worth noting that this is the same reason that Darren Collison will not be signed-and-traded. The Clippers can only pay Collison slightly over $2m, a fraction of what he is reportedly set to make in Sacramento. Again, it would be impractical for the Clippers to clear cap for such a move, and inconceivable for Collison to take that enormous of a pay cut.