Cleveland Cavaliers’ Trade Exception Might Still Be Valid

Remember back a long time ago, before all this lockout hoopla when we used to discuss things like the Cleveland Cavaliers’ $14.5 million trade exception they earned in the LeBron James trade?

I know, it’s hard to remember that far back, but it’s time to start thinking trade exception again. I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t that trade exception expire when the lockout started?”. The answer is, not necessarily.

Earlier Wednesday morning, Brian Windhorst tweeted the following:

Not finalized,but NBA execs expecting to get lost time back on trade exceptions that expired in lockout.Biggest is Cavs $14.5M (9 days left)

This is not a certainty yet, but several other NBA writers have since tweeted that their sources confirm the same thing, that the NBA most likely will honor the remaining time on trade exceptions by giving teams a grace period.

As you may or may not remember, I was staunchly opposed to the Cavaliers ever using the trade exception. I always felt that the timing wasn’t right for them to be using it. The Cavaliers are not a good basketball team (understatement), and it makes no sense to acquire the type of overpaid high-price talent that would be available with the exception. My preference has always been and still is to see the Cavaliers shed existing high priced contracts while rebuilding through the draft. Then, in a couple years, the time will be right to take on more money.

However, there’s a caveat now. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement gives the Cavaliers an amnesty clause which allows them to shed one contract for free (well, not free to Dan Gilbert, but free to the cap hit). This changes things a little bit.

Now, the Cavaliers have options. With the stricter luxury tax penalties, the Cavaliers might be able to find some teams willing to trade players they otherwise wouldn’t even consider. The Cavaliers can use their amnesty clause on either Baron Davis’s $13.9 million contract or Antawn Jamison’s $15.076 million contract to negate the price of acquiring a player with the trade exception.

It’s hard to say yet if such a player exists, but if the Cavaliers can find a player that is young and not overpaid, but just stuck in a situation where his team needs to cut some salary, the Cavaliers might be able to find a way to get something done that could help the team in the years to come.

Again, though, I want to reiterate that if the Cavaliers are just looking to acquire an Andre Iguodala type player with the exception, I don’t think they should do it. It’s not worth overpaying to bring in a player who is good, but not good enough to lift the team out of mediocrity.

The chances of the Cavaliers using the trade exception remain slim. The fact of the matter is that teams aren’t going to just hand over their best players to Cleveland for nothing. They are going to try to acquire either high draft picks or young talent to replace the higher salary guys they are looking to unload. And a rebuilding team like the Cavaliers better not be trading away first round picks unless it’s for a sure fire impact player.

As for the amnesty clause, there’s been some discussion as to whether the Cavs should use it on Baron Davis or not. That’s a tough one. It might make more sense to use it on Jamison due to his higher salary and the fact that he will be harder to trade. Furthermore, there might still be value in letting Kyrie Irving learn from the veteran Davis.

Also, from a purely selfish point of view, the Cavaliers were infinitely more fun to watch with Baron Davis than without him last year. The hope is that Kyrie Irving will step right in and make an immediate impact and render Davis less useful, but there’s no harm in waiting. Unless a trade exception opportunity pops up in which they need to shed the money immediately, I don’t think there’s any reason for the Cavaliers to use their amnesty provision before the season starts.

Either way, it sure is a lot more fun to talk about actual basketball issues again, isn’t it?

  • Mark

    Count me in the ‘don’t use the amnesty on Baron’ camp. I’d like to see what he can do and hope he and Kyrie might be able to co-exist for a while. Now if the want to shed Jamison, I won’t shed tear.

    Also, just forget about the trade exception. Unless they are able to pull of some sort of miracle trade for a good young player, just let it expire.

  • Scott

    I believe that the new CBA rules prevent teams from trading for a player and waiving him with the amnesty clause. I believe the player had to be on the roster before July 1st this year (2011). Have seen a couple of the BB national writers tweet this over the past week. If that’s the case, then using the trade exception would most likely be a mistake as the Cavs are 2-3 years from being a playoff team.

  • Cooley Ford

    Rudy Gay. Rudy Gay. Rudy Gay.

  • What I actually meant was use the amnesty provision on either Baron or Antawn, and then make a different trade using the trade exception to add more talent. The amnesty provision would just help clear salary before hand so the Cavs wouldn’t actually be adding salary with the exception.

  • mike

    i think scott is right but they could acquire someone via trade exception and then amnesty Jamison/Baron to offset the acquisition. also, who says they HAVE to amnesty anyone now? it can be done at any point during the cba for any player on the team under contract as of the new CBA, right? why cant they just hold steady, keep Baron for a year and then amnesty him NEXT season if they want? at that point, jamison is either gone by a trade deadline trade or else is just an expired contract.

  • @mike: You could argue next year Baron would be more valuable to trade as an expiring contract than to flat out cut him using amnesty. But you’re certainly correct in that the Cavaliers absolutely don’t have to use it now or ever.

  • mike

    if they think Baron has good value for an expiring contract trade, then even more reason not to amnesty him. but yeah, obviously your point is the alternative.

  • Boomhauertjs

    The Cavs never should have done a sign-and-trade with the Cheat. The draft picks will be at the end of the 1st round and have little value and they’ll never use the exception. Better to have LeBron get less $$$.

  • The Cavs would have to amnesty the player prior to the beginning of the season. At least that is my understanding. Again, they could use the TPE and amnesty Jamison for example before the season begins, but not after.

  • The amnesty provision runs throughout the life of the CBA. If the Cavaliers don’t use it before the start of the season, they can still use it next season. Or the season after (not that there would be anybody left to use it on by then).

  • tom

    @Boomhauertjs: cut off your nose to spite your face much? i am dumber for having read that comment.

  • I guess what I meant to say Rock is that you can’t amnesty a player mid-season. Yes, They could amnesty Baron Davis before next season if they wanted to.

  • Oh, I thought you were arguing something else. Yeah, you can’t use it mid-season. But I wasn’t saying that. Just saying they don’t have to rush and use it this season.

  • Right.

    And remember everyone, the amnesty clause would have to be used on a player who signed a deal under the old CBA. Which would mean using it on Jamison this year, Baron Davis this year or next, or possibly Varejao in two years. (9 million in ’13/’14)

  • s-devo

    jamison’s contract is done at the end of the year.

    he should hold some value at the trade deadline.

    i for one would be against using the amnesty on baron. team played well with him in there, he knows byron’s offense and seems to be happy to be with him again. having kyrie learn from baron and even playing at the same time would only benefit the long term growth of this team. at times kyrie could play the lead pg, while baron could play 2nd pg and be more of a scorer.

    i’m looking forward to seeing this team.

    ramon and boobie’s names havent been brought up in trade talks at all. we have 5 pg’s on our team right now.

  • mike

    i havent heard anything about interest in boobie but im sure he’d draw some interest. there are rumors that “many” teams have interest in sessions, including the knicks. a quick look at the knicks roster and salary situation shows that probably the only player they could offer (straight up) that would work in a trade for sessions is ronny turiaf. they also have a Kings second rounder in 2014. i dont think anyone else’s salary would work in a trade for sessions – at least not straight up.

  • Related to this, how are season ticket sales? I imagine the lockout coupled with the “decision” will have a big impact this year so Gilbert may not want them to use the exception if revenues are projected to be way down. Plus there will be fewer home games due to the shortened season. On the same note, acquiring an overpriced player who can help you be competitive may draw more people into the Q too. Glad it’s Gilbert’s money and not mine.

  • crowsfoot

    Unload Boobie already ! He sure is one overrated player ! He has a good outside shot, but nothing else at all to offer. He can barely handle the ball well enough to get it past half-court, let alone create anything once he does – not to mention he’s injury-prone. Sessions is a poor man’s Derek Rose. He’s lightning quick, can handle the ball, run an offense, go to the hole, finish, and make his free throws. The Cavs are very good at the guard position with Davis, Irving, and Sessions.

  • bridgecrosser

    I’d be in favor of trading for some guy who is possibly hurt and in no way threatens our work of getting the best possible lottery selection.

  • 5KMD

    Crowsfoot, your description of Boobie is a perfect fit for a team with #6. I agree with unloading him now but, when healthy years ago, he was not overrated.

  • ben

    There aren’t any good FA’s out there, really. Davis’ contract will be more useful next season to trade when there’s a better crop.

    ‘Twan can be jettisoned, but for what purpose? Again, no one really out there worth getting. The few that are out there (pretty much just Chandler) are going to go somewhere else b/c they’ll get paid more.

  • dwhit110

    Why amnesty Jamison now? Won’t his expiring deal be useful at the trade deadline, potentially for a team looking to clear cap room in a trade much like what we pulled with Mo and Baron Davis last season?

  • clevelandhusiler

    i think the cavaliers shud do sum more trades trades that can rilly help the team out free agency begun already so this is the time the cavaliers can get sum talented players so the cavaliers can get back 2to the playoffs