NBA Roundtable

Trade: Hart for Tucker

In Trade Talk on December 29, 2009 at 7:57 pm

ESPN reports

Jason Hart was going to be traded Tuesday by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The only question was where: New Orleans or Phoenix.

As a story that appeared briefly on the Timberwolves’ Web site earlier in the day confirmed, Minnesota was convinced that it had a deal with the New Orleans Hornets to send Hart to the Hornets in exchange for Devin Brown. But Brown was able to block that deal from going through, much to the disappointment of the tax-conscious Hornets.

Sources with knowledge of the teams’ discussions told ESPN.com that Brown and agent Mark Termini refused to reduce the amount on the 10-percent trade kicker in Brown’s $1.1 million contract. Brown was not asked to waive the whole kicker, sources said, but the trade math on a deal with the Hornets would not work unless Brown consented to forfeiting some money.

Brown, though, would have been giving up a starting spot as well as the cash. He’s started 23 of his 25 games this season and didn’t know what sort of playing-time situation awaited in Minnesota.

The appeal for the Hornets was Hart’s non-guaranteed contract.

They planned to waive him immediately just as Phoenix is planning to release Hart on Wednesday after the Suns capitalized on the collapse of the Minnesota-New Orleans deal to send Alando Tucker, cash and a conditional second-round pick to the Wolves for Hart.

The Non-Trade

That would have been a nice trade by New Orleans. Saved some cash.

Devin Brown was an unimportant player in their setup who’s playing time can easily be replaced by their other options on the wing — James Posey, Peja Stojakovic, Julian Wright, Marcus Thornton and Morris Peterson. The Hornets can also use a two guard backcourt of Chris Paul + Darren Collison as needed.

As for the Wolves, they received cash in exchange for taking on a non-rotation player in Devin Brown. Considering how weak the Wolves rotation is, Brown actually has a shot at playing time in Minnesota.

The Actual Trade

The Arizona Republic sums it up best

The Suns traded third-year guard Alando Tucker this afternoon to Minnesota in a move that will save nearly $1 million and allow them to keep Jarron Collins on the roster.

Phoenix traded Tucker and a conditional second-round pick to Minnesota for Jason Hart, a point guard with a non-guaranteed deal that the Suns will waive. Minnesota gets the Suns’ second-round pick in the June draft unless it falls in the top 40. In that case, Minnesota would receive the Cleveland second-round pick that is owed to the Suns.

The Suns will pay the remainder of Tucker’s $1.07 million salary and give the Timberwolves an additional $100,000. The Suns’ savings come from how much less they will be taxed for being over the luxury tax threshold.

More on Jarron Collins

Collins’ contract becomes fully guaranteed for the season Jan. 10 but he would have to have been waived by Jan. 6. Until the Tucker trade, the Suns were carrying an extra player over the 13-man roster minimum so waiving Collins was being considered to save money.

“We felt like Jarron was a valuable player for us to keep so we’d been talking to teams,” Suns General Manager Steve Kerr said. “He’s a great insurance policy, as he proved early in the season. He helped win a couple games when we had foul trouble or when Robin (Lopez) was injured. He’s a great teammate and mentor for Robin. It’s always important to have an experienced big in the playoffs who knows what he’s doing. Whether he gets in a game or not, he’s valuable because of his intangibles. He’s a future coach if he wants to be.”

Very good deal for Phoenix. They traded a largely unused bench player and gained some cash + allowed themselves to keep a more useful reserve.

Meanwhile, the Wolves have received a much better trade package. Instead of a stop gap signing, at best, in Devin Brown they’ve ended up acquiring a low level prospect in Alando Tucker. Given the Wolves wing situation, Tucker now has the best chance of his career to get playing time. They also gained some cash and another second round pick. Lovely deal for Minnesota.

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