NBA Roundtable

Utah’s Salary Dump Costs Maynor

In Trade Talk on December 22, 2009 at 9:57 pm

The Salt Lake Tribune reports

The Jazz on Tuesday traded 2009 first-round draft pick Eric Maynor plus Matt Harpring’s rights to Oklahoma City in exchange for the rights to Peter Fehse, a forward from Germany who was a second-round pick of the Sonics in 2002.

With only 12 players on the roster, the Jazz will be forced to make an additional move to reach the league minimum of 13.

Thoughts on Trade

To sum up the trade — Utah asked Oklahoma to take a contract off their hands so that they could lower their luxury tax bill. Oklahoma agreed to take that cost in exchange for getting a solid young prospect, Eric Maynor. Utah slashes their payroll, Oklahoma picks up a solid young player.

Utah Jazz

  • Matt Harpring was set to earn $6.5 million but most of that should be paid by an insurance company since Harpring isn’t set to play this season.
  • Utah was using Eric Maynor as their primary backup point guard but have another decent backup point guard in Ronnie Price. Maynor was the team’s first round draft pick this summer, the #20 selection.
  • While Utah wasn’t going to have to pay all of Harpring’s salary they were going to be billed for the luxury tax costs. So their savings here are considerable (under $9 million).
  • The player Utah got from the Thunder is irrelevant.
  • Utah will have to sign another player — likely another point guard and likely for the league minimum.

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Oklahoma had only $49.25 million in salaries against a salary cap of $57.7 million so they were below the cap by just under $8.5 million million.
  • An insurance company will pay most of Harpring’s contract (80%) so the cost for Oklahoma acquiring Eric Maynor is fairly low.
  • The Thunder haven’t gotten acceptable play out of their backup point guards — Shaun Livingston + Kevin Ollie + Mike Wilks — this season. Maynor will hopefully be the answer to that problem.
  • The player who the Thunder gave up is irrelevant.
  • Maynor should be a rotation for the Thunder … their primary backup PG.

Eric Maynor

Quick run down on Maynor ….

Maynor has gotten off to a difficult start in the pros. He’s struggled badly with his jump shot (39.8% on jumpers, four/fifths of his shots are Js) which has made him an inefficient offensive player (true shooting percentage of 45%). Maynor was a good jump shooter in college so there is good reason to believe that this is only a temporary problem and something he’ll grow out of in time.

Maynor has also been a solid rebounder and a good passer + floor general for Utah. Maynor is a small point guard (only 175lbs) and he has true floor general/leadership skills. He is also a below average but serviceable defender.

Linked Article

The article linked to at the top of the page and since been added to and there are a few good quotes so I thought I’d throw them in here at the bottom of the post

“To do that, we had to give up an asset, and that asset was Eric Maynor,” Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor explained at a news conference in Salt Lake City. “It was a difficult decision. We’re disappointed that we had to do that.

“But in these economic times, we saved a great deal of money and we’re able to be aggressive still going forward.”

Both Harpring’s salary as well as that of Maynor ($1.3 million) will not count toward the luxury tax. The Jazz also will not have to pay their prorated salaries the rest of the season. The Thunder will recover about half of Harpring’s remaining salary through insurance.

“It made it doubly difficult because I think Eric was somebody that fit our DNA,” O’Connor said.

“I’m not going to say that it doesn’t hurt us from a competitive standpoint, losing a good young player,” O’Connor said by phone, “but I will say with Deron and Ronnie, I think we have that position covered.”

Ah, okay, so only half of Harpring’s salary is insured. Not 80% which is the figure you normally see. So that saves Utah just south of $11 million once they replace Maynor with a minimum contract replacement (only have 12 men, need another player to reach the roster minimum of 13 bodies).

Even after the trade, the Jazz are still facing a nearly $5 million tax bill, with a payroll of $74.7 million before signing a 13th player to meet league requirements. The luxury-tax threshold is $69.92 million this season.

Hmm ….

  • $5 million is about what Kyle Korver earns.
  • The paychecks above that are all valuable players (Boozer, Deron, Kirilenko, Okur, Millsap) and contracts below that are smaller (Miles @ $3.7 million, Brewer @ $2.7 million + rookie scale contracts).
  • If Utah decides to move a player to try and get below that luxury tax threshold, or even just to lower their tax bill, then Korver is the obvious target.

Utah has $75 million in salaries + $5 million in luxury taxes + Millsap’s signing on bonus. I forget the figure for that but I think it was near $4-to-$6 million. So Utah will have a total payroll of around $84-86 million.

My memory is a little hazy on this but I don’t think Utah has ever paid more than $70 million in salaries before. So this year’s payroll is about $15 million higher (20-to-23%) than their previous high. And, if Utah hadn’t of made this salary dump, they would have then had to pay out $95-to-$97 million in payroll which would be 35+% higher.

2010/11 Payroll

Utah currently has around $58 million tied up between eight players with three key free agents — Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer, and Kyle Korver — to re-sign all three the Jazz would likely have to shell out $22-$25 million which would take their payroll up to $80-83 million for just 11 players.

It’s hard to see Utah doing that but if they let Korver leave … they would then be a decent position to make decisions about what to do with Boozer. They could possibly re-sign him or possibly sign-and-trade him and bring back some quality players at a comparable or slightly lower, or much lower, rate of salary.

Utah will likely be more willing to pay a somewhat higher luxury tax bill next season now that they’ve gotten this year’s bill under control (reduced payroll by almost $11 million, tax bill now only $5 million).

Anyway, that’s just supposition at this point. Things have may changed, may have opened up some further options for the Jazz, or Utah may be more unwilling than ever to pay the luxury tax and nothing has changed. I think there will be some flexibility there though. Utah are the type of team that values it’s own talent highly and doesn’t like losing quality players with no way of replacing them.

  1. Money Still makes most of the NBA go around!

    Is it any wonder that teams can’t compete with LAL & Boston. The Magic, Cavs, and Mavs are doing their best to buy their way in too.

  2. hey dave, did you catch bill simmon’s nba ‘vp of common sense’ column. Some of the trades he mentions in there are too logical for them not to happen.

    Happy holidays!

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