After all, the Boston Celtics were able to get something for Gordon Hayward. After all the worry that Danny Ainge missed what the Indiana Pacers offered, he was able to turn around and get a valuable asset from the Charlotte Hornets.
The $ 28.5 million exempt player exemption (TPE), Boston, received in return for a few second-round picks is the largest TPE in NBA history. It could be quite valuable to the Celtics, even possibly more valuable than what the Pacers offered.
What is TPE?
An exception from a traded player is basically a coupon that a team receives in return for a player traded to a team that can absorb him in cap space or an exception.
In the NBA, wages must match for a trade to work. When a team like Charlotte can sign a player directly but decides to trade for him without sending players back, the sending team gets a TPE instead. It’s a way to match salaries, but basically you have to do it later.
So Boston gets some sort of coupon for Gordon Hayward’s first year salary, and they can use it to match salary in a trade or trades later.
Why should Charlotte do that?
Because they got two second-round picks for it, and they can be valuable either as cheap players to fill out a list or as sweeteners for trades down the road.
How can Boston use it?
The small print on this coupon reads “cannot be combined with other assets.” They can split it and trade for more than one player or trade with more than one team. They can trade tomorrow with one team and in March with another. Some important rules:
- It cannot be combined with anything else to increase its value. They cannot add a player earning $ 5 million, or $ 5 million TPE created by the Enes Kanter agreement, to a trade and make it worth $ 33.5 million. This TPE stands alone.
- It cannot be used after the expiration date. It is typically a year, but due to the strange timing of this season, it expires some time before the next season starts.
- It can not be used to sign a free agent. It’s not money to spend. Maybe you can think of it as a kind of gift card instead, and it can only be used in the “trade shop”. But if there is a free agent that they wanted to sign, they could probably easily negotiate a sign-and-trade with his original team, and that team would create its own TPE.
Who can Boston get with it?
Step one: you can go here and scroll down to D’Angelo Russell at 31 to start looking at who actually fits into the exception. Everyone above him is out (sorry, Bradley Beal fans).
From there we can remove some obvious names. Giannis Antetokounmpo is not traded as an exception. Also keep in mind that because Boston signs Tristan Thompson to a full mid-level exception, they will be severely limited to around $ 139 million, so it may not be possible to use the full $ 28.5 million TPE unless they move some other players .
Step two: Find realistic scenarios
I will divide this into a few levels. The first is by players that the entire TPE will be used on, and the second is mostly guys taking a piece of it.
- Otto Porter, $ 28,489,239
- Nikola Vucevic, $ 26,000,000
- Buddy Hield, $ 24,931,817
- Harrison Barnes, $ 22,215,909
- Gary Harris, $ 19,160,714
Personally, I think Boston needs to target wings. Vucevic is on this list because he is an exciting stretch-5 option with a declining contract, but he is still super expensive and I would be wary of that move.
Porter is 27 years old and has a career of 40.4% from 3. He’s overpaid in Chicago, but it’s an expiration contract, and trading with him brings in his Bird rights, so Boston can either sign him for one more. reasonable deal next season or trade him by deadline. Hield and Barnes are candidates to move to Sacramento, but Hield is about to start a major five-year extension, and that may be too much for Boston.
Barnes is a huge shooter who can fit Boston’s multi-positional style. He is also on a declining contract, earning $ 20.3 million next season and $ 18.3 the following season. Those are very negotiable numbers if Boston continues to re-study.
Harris is an exciting “change of scenery” guy who has another season on his contract with the Denver Nuggets. Injuries have cost him opportunities and the team has done well without him. Their offseason moves have severely limited them, so it makes sense to create a TPE to create a TPE and fill his place over the summer. Boston would hope for some good health, and a new team could make him the 40% shooter he was two years ago.
- Aaron Gordon, $ 18,136,364
- Evan Fournier, $ 17,150,000
- JJ Redick, $ 13,013,700
- Kelly Olynyk, $ 13,598,243
- Al-Farouq Aminu, $ 9,720,900
- George Hill, $ 9,590,602
- PJ Tucker, $ 7,969,537
If I’m Danny Ainge, I basically call the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic and ask who on their list is available in this situation. Gordon could do very well with the Celtics if he just plays in himself and a system that does not expect too much from him.
Personally, I would rather get Fournier if possible. He expires this season and can provide immediate assistance. He’s 28 years old and a killer shooter from the depths, so Orlando could just look to dump him instead of paying him next season. The real questions with a Fournier deal are whether Orlando would ask for too much in return, and would Boston like to pay him forward.
There is no doubt that New Orleans would love to get an asset back to Redick. Boston can certainly use a reliable shooting game like him from the bench.
Miami probably wouldn’t mind clearing hood space in an Olynyk deal if Boston were hoping to test its floor spacing ability again.
Aminu is a guy with a very low probability, but if he is healthy, he can be a strong, versatile defensive wing. If he is able to recreate any of his Portland shooting magic, he would be a good bench option.
Hill would be a very skilled backup for Kemba Walker, and he could step in and run the show if Walker’s knee became an issue. His salary of $ 10 million next season is not guaranteed, but $ 10 million could make him a valuable merchant ship next summer.
Tucker would make the front page a little more crowded, but there’s no harm in calling the financially tense Houston Rockets and see if you can get a steal.
It is important to note that guys at this level are all also highly negotiable and could be valuable to the Celtics in future pay-matching scenarios. Right now, Marcus Smart is the only mid-sized contract on the team, which means he will have to be included in most trading scenarios for a superstar. Getting players who are also around his contract size can help Boston hold on to him if a major trade gets down.
But the Celtics are playing this, they have some options. Some of these names make more sense than others, and some may not end up being available at all, but those are the types of players who play for Boston with TPE.
Danny Ainge got something in return for Gordon Hayward, and if he can make the right moves, his move through TPE could end up being much better than anything the Indiana Pacers had to offer.
This was the whole focus lately Locked On Celtics podcast, which is embedded below. It goes into even deeper details about what TPE is and other questions about how it is used. You can subscribe to the podcast on it Google, Apple, Stitcher, or Spotifyor anywhere else podcasts are available.