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Deal of the Day: Everything you need to know about sign-and-trades, plus a Wizards-Sixers trade idea

NBA: Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Deal of the Day is an exercise in NBA deal making and a sanity check for yours truly as we wait for the NBA Draft. Each day I’ll post a trade idea I think helps the Wizards. No trade is too small, no trade is too big…but I only have so many four-plus team trades in me, I swear. Move up in the draft? Yessir. Move back? Yup. All trades are run through the simulator.

NOTE: the current TradeNBA setup allows users to toggle settings. One setting is whether to count cap holds or not. With cap holds the Wizards are a taxpaying team. In reality, they’re not and they won’t operate as one. Toggle holds to Off and the Wizards have a smidgen of cap space. TradeNBA doesn’t provide a way to renounce Washington’s cap holds and still act as an over the cap team, so I’ll need to check the math on trades myself.


Say it with me, “Salary cap rules may be bent but hopefully not broken”.

Today’s Deal of the Day: A Sign and Trade Primer (Davis Bertans)

The Wizards decided not to deal forward Davis Bertans at the trade deadline, allegedly turning down a late first round pick offered for the sharp shooting forward. Bertans is Wizards president Tommy Sheppard’s self-professed offseason priority. Despite that, there’s no guarantee Bertans re-signs. There’s enough money in the market to push the total salary commitment into a range that makes the Wizards reevaluate.

In that case the only way to recoup assets is to facilitate his move to a new locale by engineering a sign-and-trade. There are a lot of moving parts to a deal of this type. When in doubt, call on The Authority on the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, Larry Coon and his website

The basics:

Sign-and-trade contracts must be for at least three seasons (not including any option year) and no longer than four seasons. The first year of the contract must be fully guaranteed, but the remaining seasons can be non-guaranteed. The combination of a three-year minimum with a one-year guarantee ensures that the player’s new team cannot acquire the player’s Bird rights any sooner than if they had signed him directly. If they wanted to re-sign him in less than three years they would first have to waive him, and lose any Bird rights.

Why would an under the cap team make this kind of deal?

There isn’t a blinking green reason for a team with cap space agreeing to a sign-and-trade. They have room. Use the room, right? As with all things related to the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, it can get complicated.

A sign-and-trade allows the team to send salary back, which can create additional salary flexibility or ease a redundancy on their roster. This could be advantageous if they want to execute a series of moves and need more cap space to make the sequence work. Typically, the under the cap team in this type of scenario would provide compensation in the form of draft picks for being allowed to unload unwanted salaries.

Why would the Wizards make this kind of deal?

In this scenario re-signing Davis is no longer viable. Sign-and-trade allows the Wizards to recoup an asset or two while doing a solid for Bertans. That’s good for player relations — NBA players are oddly human and are more amenable to franchises they see treating their colleagues well. Just as importantly, it’s good for agent relations.

The front office is diligent about extending their good will, having helped Bojan Bogdanovic and the Indianapolis Pacers strike a deal a few years ago, and doing the same last offseason when Tomas Satoransky decided to leave for the Chicago Bulls. Sheppard was able to get two draft picks including the 37th pick this year in that transaction.

Why would an over the cap team make this kind of deal?

This is where the value lies and also where the most restrictions come into play. Teams without the cap space can trade for players they wouldn’t normally be able to sign. From the CBA FAQ:

If a team re-signs its Bird or Early Bird free agent in order to trade the player in a sign-and-trade transaction, the player’s new salary is greater than the minimum, he receives a raise greater than 20%, and the team is at or above the cap immediately after the signing*, then the player’s outgoing salary for trade purposes is either his previous salary or 50% of his new salary, whichever is greater. The team receiving the player always uses his new salary.

* The team salary being over the cap immediately following the signing is what triggers this rule. It does not matter whether the team was under the cap prior to the signing, nor whether the team is under the cap subsequent to the trade.

Bertans fits these categories. The Wizards have his Bird rights and he will receive a raise greater than 20%, which is more than the minimum. Its probably easier to just jump into an example.

If Bertans agrees to a four-year $68 million deal ($17 million per year), his outgoing salary value in a sign-and-trade would be $8.5 million. This means the Wizards can’t just swap Bertans for another player making $17 million.

As a team operating over the cap but under the tax, the Wizards fall under the 125% + $100,000 rule for salary matching purposes. Following that rule, Washington could take back a maximum of $10.725 million. Salaries in a trade package can be combined and therefore aggregated in a sign-and-trade just like regular multiplayer trades.

Holy moly we got this far and haven’t mentioned an actual deal. Let’s fix that.

Deal of the Day: Bertans agrees to a four-year, $68 million contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. Philly sends forward Mike Scott, guard Furkan Korkmaz and a 2021 2nd round pick (originally from the Knicks) to the Wizards to complete the sign and trade.

The 76ers gets an elite sharpshooter. The Wizards add a replacement reserve forward, who even on a down year shot 37% from three-point range. At 32, Scott’s best is behind him, but shooters shoot and the 76ers demand he’s in the deal to make some room.

No one would be surprised if the Knicks 2021 pick ends up about where they sit in 2020. High second round picks are a good way to snap up first round values at a lower cost.

Korkmaz, 23, is the potential find of the deal. The 6-7 Instanbul native set career highs this season in three-point attempts, makes and accuracy, connecting on better than 40% on 356 attempts. His 2020-21 salary of $1.7 million is currently not guaranteed.

BONUS Fun Fact About Sign and Trades:

You can’t sign and then not trade the player. There’s a stipulation in the contract that the player must be traded or the contract is void.

You can’t sign and trade a player for another player that is being signed and traded. Ahem, Jerami Grant.

Bertans cannot re-sign or agree to a sign and trade until the new league year starts which will be after the draft. There’s no legal way to sign and trade him for 2020 draft picks.


Sign and Trade Bertans?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Yes, get bench help in exchange for our elite bench scorer.
    (54 votes)
  • 65%
    No, find a better deal.
    (149 votes)
  • 10%
    Wow, thanks for the Primer. I’m not remembering all that.
    (23 votes)
226 votes total Vote Now
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