NBA Roundtable

Kevin Martin Trade (Three Team Trade)

In Trade Talk on February 18, 2010 at 1:34 am

Marc Stein via Twitter

Trade-deadline alert just filed to Rockets have agreement in principal with Sacramento to acquire Kevin Martin.

We’ll have to wait and see. This is coming out of left field.

Wow, if true, the Celtics must be irked to high heavens. They were desperately interested in trading Ray Allen for Kevin Martin. Now Houston trades T-Mac for Martin? I wonder what type of other assets the Rockets are throwing into the deal.

According to a report I just heard, the deal is Kevin Martin + Sergio Rodriguez + Kenny Thomas + Hilton Armstrong for Tracy McGrady + Carl Landry + Joey Dorsey.

Update: Trade is now confirmed and is as described directly above

Update: The trade has become a three team deal with NY. Scroll down for more.

Three Team Deal

ESPN reports

Tracy McGrady is heading to the New York Knicks, who now have more than $9 million of additional salary cap space to use in free agency this summer.

Sources told that the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and New York Knicks have agreed to terms that will expand the Houston-Sacramento deal into a three-way trade.

The Knicks will acquire McGrady and Sergio Rodriguez from Sacramento; the Rockets get Kevin Martin and Hilton Armstrong from Sacramento, and Jordan Hill and Jared Jeffries from New York.

Houston also will have the right to swap first-round picks with New York in 2011, and the Rockets also get New York’s 2012 first-round pick.

Sacramento obtains Houston’s Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey and New York’s Larry Hughes.

A source close to the negotiations told ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford that the Knicks’ 2011 pick is top-1 protected, and the 2012 pick is top-5 protected.

Players Involved

Houston Rockets receive: Kevin Martin + Jordan Hill + Jared Jeffries + Hilton Armstrong + Knicks 2012 first round pick + right to swap picks with NY in 2011

Sacramento Kings receive: Carl Landry + Joey Dorsey + Larry Hughes

New York Knicks receive: Tracy McGrady + Sergio Rodriguez

Some Links

An interesting quote from Yahoo Sports

Rockets GM Daryl Morey has long been enamored with Martin, and kept pushing for a deal between the two teams. Morey knew Martin had become unhappy in Sacramento, sources said, and that the Kings shooting guard was struggling to adjust playing alongside rookie point guard Tyreke Evans. Martin didn’t feel like his talents were compatible with Evans, and struggled to defer to him.

Nice to know that Morey has been a long time admirer of Kevin Martin.

Houston Rockets

2010/11 Squad

Big Men — Yao Ming + Luis Scola + Chuck Hayes + David Andersen + Jared Jeffries + Jordan Hill

Wings — Kevin Martin + Shane Battier + Trevor Ariza + Chase Budinger + Jermaine Taylor

Guards — Aaron Brooks + Kyle Lowry

Thirteen players. The Rockets are at the minimum required roster size but could add two more players if they wished.

2010/11 Payroll

The Rockets no longer have cap space this summer so they’ll look to retain their key free agents Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry.

Scola will likely cost around $8 million per season while Lowry will cost another $4-5 million.

  • Yao Ming — $17.69 million
  • Kevin Martin — $10.6 million
  • Luis Scola~~ $8 million
  • Shane Battier — $7.43 million
  • Jared Jeffries — $6.88 million
  • Trevor Ariza — $6.32 million
  • Kyle Lowry ~~ $4.5 million
  • Jordan Hill — $2.67 million
  • David Andersen — $2.5 million
  • Chuck Hayes — $2.33 million
  • Aaron Brooks — $2.02 million
  • Chase Budinger — $780k
  • Jermaine Taylor — $780k

That is a total of $72.5 million for a total of 13 players. The Rockets also own a first round draft pick which is likely to be a late lottery pick so another $1.7 million.

So a preliminary total of $74.2 million.

The Rockets area almost $10 million above the expected luxury tax threshold, on a high cap figure, before making any other roster moves.


I thought the Rockets bench would look weaker than it does but I was wrong. They still have excellent depth on the perimeter both on the wing and at the guard spots. Up front, they have a good fourth + fifth bigs in Chuck Hayes and David Andersen respectively.

The Rockets would need to sign a replacement first big off the bench to continue having an elite game-changing bench. To do so, the Rockets would likely need to spend their MLE which would have them wandering deep into luxury tax land.

Given the Rockets luxury tax problems, I do not expect the Rockets to spend that money. They will run with the serviceable backup bigs they have rather than try to upgrade it.


The Rockets still look an impact player shy of being a legitimate contender.

I would consider them a very good team, an outside contender, a 55 win team that would be a very tough out but a little behind the “best of the best”.

I think they still need another impact player. Likely a perimeter player.

Draft Pick

The Rockets are currently ninth in the Western Conference, three games above .500 but three games behind Portland in that eight spot.

The Rockets are also running neck and neck with the Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Hornets. So the Rockets could just as easily finish 8th in the West as 11th.

Either way, they’ll likely have a better record than anyone in the East. If they finish in the lottery, they would then have the #11-#14 draft pick. If they manage to scrape into the playoffs, they will likely have the #18 pick due to the weak W-L records of the final three playoff teams in the East.

I’m doubtful that Martin pushes the Rockets into the playoffs. I think they’re quite likely to finish in the lottery. That lottery pick would give them a chance to draft a young talent like Greg Monroe or Ekpe Udoh or perhaps even Willie Warren.

The Rockets might be able to find that final impact player via the lottery.

If not, Houston would very likely be able to package that draft pick + some of their depth to add another quality player. Another route that should strongly be considered.

New York Knicks

Cap Space — I’m just going to copy and paste my previous thoughts from the rumoured T-Mac to NY post

Jared Jeffries ($6.88 million) and Jordan Hill ($2.67 million) total around $9.5 million worth of contracts in 2010/11. Freeing up that extra cap space leaves the Knicks with a cap of around $21.6 million after accounting for the cap holds for empty roster spots.

That means the Knicks would have $30-32 million in cap space this summer. Not quite enough for two max contracts, despite reports to the contrary, but they’re extremely close.

The Knicks need $33.14 million for two max contracts. If they could free up another $2 million on an Eddy Curry buyout or by buying out Curry + trading Toney Douglas in a salary dump + get a high cap figure … the Knicks could have enough money for two max contracts.

I’ve always believed that NY needed to be able to sign a second max contract player to convince a superstar like LeBron James or Dwyane Wade to sign there. To convince them that there is a chance to win, that’s it’s real and that they can see it. To add two players of that quality alongside Gallinari + Chandler and then go on to build a supporting cast around them.

Suddenly, that dream is becoming a possibility.

Sacramento Kings

The Core of Sacramento

The Kings have four core players and one possible core player.

Tyreke Evans is their best player and the guy who they’ll build their whole squad around. Carl Landry and Jason Thompson are the second and third best players in some order. Landry is a prototypical power forward while Thompson is a combo PF/C able to play either position at a high level. Omri Casspi is a well rounded wing who is a very talented complementary player.

These four players should be treasured by Sacramento.

The other player is Donte Greene who is still a work in progress. I love his potential but the odds aren’t great that he fulfills it. A possible core player.

Rest of Squad

  • The irrelevants — Tracy McGrady + Sean May
  • The Cumbersome Contracts — Beno Udrih + Andres Nocioni + Francisco Garica
  • Useful Asset — Spencer Hawes
  • Others — Jon Brockman + Ime Udoka
  • Unknown — Joey Dorsey — could become a valuable rotation player, could be used as a trade asset, could become a core player. A lot of possibilities for Dorsey. Too early to label him.

Way Forward

To continue their rebuilding process, Sacramento should:

  • Let the irrelevant’s contracts expire and do not resign them to any substantial or long term money. No risk of that.
  • Try to move the cumbersome contracts in salary dumps to gain improved cap flexibility. Then use that cap flexibility to acquire assets either through the trade market or via free agency.
  • The useful assets (Hawes) should be cashed in for the best asset Sacramento can get their hands on. Given the Kings poor trade possibilities, outside of their core, it’ll be difficult for Sacramento to couple together a couple assets + good contracts to land a top tier talent. But they can trade Hawes for a draft pick or another solid prospect who better fits their roster + future.


Excellent trade by the Houston Rockets.

(1) They weren’t able to acquire a superior player for McGrady’s contract

(2) Kevin Martin is very talented and a very good complement to Yao Ming and will fit in well inside Rick Adelman’s system as we’ve seen in the past.

(3) The trade opens up the opportunity to build a legitimate contender in the near future

Excellent trade by the Sacramento Kings

(1) I wanted the Kings to wait until the summer to give Martin + Evans more time together. After all they’ve only played around 20 games together and most of that time Martin has been coming back from injury.

However, I don’t think the Kings would have been able to get a young player as talented as Carl Landry in a Kevin Martin trade this summer so I’m happy they pulled the trigger now.

(2) They’ve moved into a positive phase in their rebuilding process.

There is clear bright future on the horizon.

A few more moves would solidify that future though!

Excellent trade by the Knicks

The Knicks had to go all-in on their 2010 free agency plans. I do not believe that they would have been able to convince LeBron or Wade to join without having the capacity to sign a second max contract. They needed to be able to show they could build a contender and this was the only way open to them.

They lost some assets but the opportunities created outweigh that.

  1. Daryl Morey

    How did Daryl Morey pull this trade off? It’s like he took one good asset (McGrady), had two good trades on the line, and then traded that asset twice … once to each team for what they were offering?

    How did he manage to get NY to give up all of those assets + get Sacramento to give up the maximum number of assets too?

    It’s freakish …

    Sacramento Kings

    How in the world did Geoff Petrie not do better out of this deal?

    He could have simply finalized the initial Rockets-Kings trade and then flipped T-Mac to New York for assets?

    There are reports of the Kings asking for David Lee in exchange for McGrady. Maybe Petrie simply overplayed his hand? Asked for too much and sent the Knicks running back to the Rockets?

    Still, how could he not get one of those draft picks or Jordan Hill?

    Geoff Petrie blew that opportunity.

    Houston Rockets

    The Rockets made out like bandits. They got a very talented star quality player in Kevin Martin + Jordan Hill + 2012 Knicks pick + an option on the 2011 pick (swap).

    Excellent maneuvering from Daryl Morey.

  2. but why would the knicks care if they gave up david lee? They are going to resind his rights anyways this offseason. Unless its about not totally angering their fan base for duration of this season.

  3. Hollinger Quote

    From John Hollinger’s Chat

    Curt (Sac)

    Why would you say the Kings did not like Sergio? He played well and often. Your thoughts?

    John Hollinger
    (12:37 PM)

    This is what people told me behind the scenes. Repeatedly.

    Hey Dino Gunners,

    I was thinking the same thing but someone else made a very good point to me when I raised the issue — that David Lee could be used as a sign and trade to land a big name player. To get that player his sixth season + maximum increases.

    For example, the Knicks could use Lee in a sign and trade with the Raptors to get Chris Bosh … and Bosh gets to make the most possible money he can make and move at the same time.

  4. So Dave, I ask you. Did the Spurs screw up by not trading Tony Parker in the offseason? Now comes word that he wants to play for the national team again. They held onto Parker and acquired Jefferson and now might have ruined Duncan’s final two years as a result. They couldn’t even make a worthwhile trade today to unload salary or acquire more talent. The game plan has blown up and it’s sad.

  5. Hey Ed, good to hear from you

    I am bitterly disappointed with the Spurs at the trade deadline.

    I was hoping they would acquire Tyrus Thomas — link — that they’d be willing to part with enough assets (future draft picks) to make that trade happen. I thought Thomas could have been excellent piece, a glue guy that brought the Spurs defense back to it’s previous glory.

    I felt that defensive improvement would have put San Antonio right back in the chase for the Western Conference Title.

    Trading Tony Parker

    Did the Spurs screw up by not trading Tony Parker

    I liked the idea of acquiring Richard Jefferson but I wanted the Spurs make more of an effort in upgrading their supporting cast. Too many flaws were ignored (like in 2008) and it’s costing them the chance to win another title.

    They didn’t get Duncan enough help in the paint, not defensively, and are not able to compete with the Lakers as a result. They also didn’t put enough effort in filling out their wing rotation. Heck, there’s only one small forward on the roster (RJ). Then continued level of support for Michael Finley and the idea that Roger Mason Jr was a good option at SG (where he is a defensive + rebounding liability) baffled me.

    The Spurs also lacked a big man with quickness + mobility, someone who was capable of defending PFs full time to allow Duncan to be a full time center. Someone who could handle the perimeter orientated PFs + the athletic big men + small ball lineups where big wings or combo forwards play the four. The inability to matchup effectively with those lineups is another major flaw in the Spurs supporting cast.

    Those three areas (1) lack of interior defensive help for Duncan (2) lack of a mobile defensive PF + small ball option (3) lack of wing depth … were very disappointing to me.

    Richard Jefferson hasn’t worked out well for the Spurs. Not offensively at least. I actually like his defensive contributions. But I liked the idea at the time so I don’t want to criticize it. I thought he’d more effective as a scorer than he has been (a 16-18ppg threat).

    I felt that the addition of Richard Jefferson + efforts to upgrade their supporting cast would have given the Spurs a very strong chance at winning a title this season + next season. So, I was happy with the initial move but disappointed with the lack of subsequent moves (supporting cast).

    Did the Spurs screw up by not trading Tony Parker

    Repeat the question — my answer — to a degree, yes.

    I thought their plan of action (keeping Big Three + adding fourth star) could have worked if executed better.

    But without the intent to follow through on those subsequent moves?

    Yes, then trading Tony Parker would have been the better option. Collecting that young talented player and using the cap space this summer to pursue a top tier free agent would have given the Spurs a better chance at winning a title.

    So, yes, to some degree, the Spurs did screw up. I think it was their actions after trading for Jefferson rather than their initial plan though.

    Larry Bird

    On another note, random note, how similar is Tim Duncan’s career path shaping up Bird’s right now?

    The early success + success and MVPs in the middle of the career + leading towards end of career on a non-contender/outside contender while still winning 50+ games a season.

    Amare Stoudemire

    Did you have any interest in the Spurs acquiring Amare Stoudemire in a trade?

    If Phoenix would have been interested … I liked the idea of sending Tony Parker plus filler to Phoenix for Amare and letting George Hill take over the starting point guard duties.

    I thought Tim Duncan could have had a huge impact on Amare over the next couples of years. Help get through to him on the potential impact he could make defensively + on the glass with more effort/focus. I loved the idea of San Antonio being able to build around Amare, an improved Amare, once Duncan is finished.

    That Duncan + Amare combination could have given the Lakers big men a run for their money. Especially with Blair (if San An managed to hold onto him) + McDyess backing them up.

  6. Just jotting down some math on the Spurs salaries if they traded Parker …

    I’m wondering if they had enough money to resign Manu + sign a max contract player + sign Tiago Splitter

    Tim Duncan — $18.84 million
    Manu Ginobili ~~ $8 million per annum on a four year deal
    George Hill — $850k
    DeJuan Blair — $920k
    First Round Pick — $1.1 million
    Empty Roster Spots — $3.33 million
    Total = $33.14 million

    A maximum contract would cost another $16.57 million less the cap hold. New total would be $49.24 million.

    The Spurs would still have close to $5 million leftover to offer to Tiago Splitter if they got a high cap figure of around $54 million. That would have been enough to get it done.

    Edit: Ahh, a mistake, the Spurs would have had a lottery talent in place of Tony Parker. That young prospect would likely be earning $3-4 million per annum. So the Spurs wouldn’t have had enough leftover to sign Splitter too.

    New Spurs Squad

    Core = max contract + Tim Duncan + Manu Ginobili + very good prospect.

    Supporting Cast = George Hill + DeJuan Blair + first round pick + minimum contract signings.

    Names To Ponder

    Free Agents — LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Rudy Gay, David Lee

    Prospects — OJ Mayo, Al Horford, Jeff Green, Anthony Randolph, Eric Gordon, Hasheem Thabeet, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Danilo Gallinari, Thaddeus Young, Ricky Rubio

    Level of availability to each player is debatable but it’s an interesting shortlist to think off of.

    Versus Current Roster

    Core = Tim Duncan + Manu Ginobili + Tony Parker + Richard Jefferson

    Supporting Cast = George Hill + Antonio McDyess + DeJuan Blair + Keith Bogans + Roger Mason Jr + Matt Bonner + Michael Finley + Ian Mahinmi + Malik Hairston


    Yes, it’s definitely the better option.

    Trading Tony Parker for a young talented prospect was the best play.

    Some of the options are far better, some are somewhat improved and several others are comparable to the current Spurs squad/core. All of those situations offer a younger talent to build around going forward though.

    I would expect the Spurs to strike out on the top three free agents (not convinced they join that Spurs squad over other options) but I think they have a very strong chance at the rest of them + the Spurs definitely could have found some value with a young prospect. There were more than enough doors open to find someone with consider quality/potential.

    I think the combination of those two players alongside Duncan and Manu would have given the Spurs a better chance at another title.

  7. The most distressing thing about Tony is that he wants to play over the summer. He is determined to put more mileage on those legs and it’s not being sensitive to the future of the team that pays him so much.

    I don’t think Amare would have been the right move. He doesn’t really fit what the Spurs do. He is a poor defender and there is no Steve Nash there to get him easy shots. I know there is a small window with Tim Duncan, but at some point you have to start thinking about life after Tim. The organization owes it to him to try and win the title during his twilight, but that’s all they owe him. Put a competitive team on the court with a chance to win.

    Trade Tony. Get younger. Pick up some draft picks. But going back to the point I made a few months back…who is the Spurs best player? It’s still Tim Duncan. And at this rate it will be Tim Duncan until he retires. And as much as I love and respect his game, you are not winning a title anymore with Tim as your best player. You sure as heck aren’t winning a title with Tony as your best player. So what do you do?

    Cap space is great but you are not going to get a superstar to come to SA. The only chance of getting another superstar to build around are 1) Draft him; 2) Trade for a young guy that will develop into him. Right now, the only asset that will get bring this kind of return in a trade is Tony Parker.

    Hopefully once Jefferson’s deal becomes an expiring contract in the offseason or at next year’s trading deadline, you can unload him too. Surround Duncan with youth and energy and supplement the roster with veteran role players. It’s a very scary proposition in that there is the unknown…there’s no guarantee a team comprised of those pieces with be title-level competitive. But there will be hope, future, and room to grow and get better. This current group of Spurs may get better, but only marginally. There is no future or real hope with this group.

  8. Ed,

    I’m astonished that Tony Parker plans on playing for the National Team again. Especially after he was blaming his tired legs for his poor performance on his summer exertions.

    Now, he’s going to do the exact same thing again? What sense does that make?

    Trading Tony Parker

    Are there any particular players/prospects that you would like the Spurs to target?

    Tiago Splitter

    I think Tiago Splitter is a big key to a possible Spurs revival. A talented big man with size. Someone to help take the burden off of Duncan. They Spurs front office need cap space to bring him over so it would be 2011 at the earliest.

  9. Rebuilding The Supporting Cast

    I’m still wondering whether the Spurs can rebuild their supporting cast for next season and make a run with the core they have. If there is a way of saving their current situation without rebuilding/retooling.

    I would love to see them make a run for Tyrus Thomas with a full MLE offer. Give Charlotte something to think about.

    A five man team of Parker + Ginobili + Jefferson + Ty Thomas + Duncan.

    Good backup guard in George Hill. Useful trade asset in DeJuan Blair. A solid backup big in McDyess but a poor fit, so trade fodder. One good bench player, one good trade asset and one poor trade asset. No backup wings. Need for more size + length + quickness + defensive ability from the bigs.

    One draft pick in the low to mid 20s. MLE already spent. LLE available. Then minimum contract signings. Only substantial trade asset would be Blair. Signing Manu + Ty Thomas puts them over the luxury tax with several holes still on the roster.

    It doesn’t look possible, does it?

    Other Ways Of Continuing On

    Richard Jefferson would be an expiring contract. RJ + Blair + first round pick(s) would be a good trade package. Also have the draft rights to Tiago Splitter which are quite valuable.

    I don’t think there would be that many elite players available next season though. A lot of the rosters will be fairly settled after this summer’s free agent bonanza.

    Still have Tony Parker who is a good trade asset.

    Trade for talent … Andre Iguodala. Baron Davis & change. Al Jefferson. Devin Harris & change. Rashard Lewis … not a lot there.

    That looks pretty dodgy.

    Sign and Trade

    I think the Spurs would be better off trying to make a move with Tony Parker through a sign and trade. Go after a 2010 free agent. Offer Parker and parts in the exchange. A better chance at getting a superior talent.


    The sign and trade would be my first preference at this point in time.

    If the Spurs struck out on that, I would then look to trade Parker for a young talent. I would check the trade market first (for RJ + Parker) but I don’t think there will be anything there. So the young talent/prospects/draft picks looks the most likely to yield a positive return at that stage.

  10. You have to assume for now that they won’t be able to move RJ’s contract. If they can it’s gravy, but for now I’m under the assumption they are stuck with it.

    The dream scenario of course is a sign and trade of Parker and parts for Bosh. I would not trade Hill or Blair though.

    That’s a major longshot. Even though he’s from Texas, I don’t see Bosh choosing San Antonio from all the offers he’ll receive, especially if Parker is not on the team. I think the best they could do in a sign and trade is someone like Joe Johnson, and that’s not an upgrade.

    I wonder if Atlanta makes the playoffs but loses early, would they consider Parker/McDyess for Josh Smith/Bibby. The Hawks get out from under two long term contracts. They have Parker and Teague backing him up. Jamal Crawford is at the 2, though he’s better suited to be a backup considering a Parker/Crawford backcourt would be a disaster on defense.

    Front line is Marvin, Horford and McDyess(again better suited for bench) with Maurice Evans and ZaZa on the bench. Still have a 1st round pick, MLE and Joe Johnson $$$ to play with to help at the SG and PF positions.

    For the Spurs, it becomes a front line of Smith-Duncan-Jefferson. Blair and Hairston on the bench. Bibby and Hill in the backcourt. Still have a 1st round pick, MLE, LLE and Ginobili’s Bird rights.

    You can think about bringing over Splitter or De Colo. I’m sure they’d re-sign Bonner because he’s Popovich’s stretch 4. Basically they would need a good backup PG and a scoring 2 (which would be Ginobili if they retain him). Anyway, they have options to beef up the backcourt.

    And most importantly, they return to Spurs basketball, which is protecting the rim. Popovich preaches defense and the Spurs defense hasn’t been elite since they had a guy standing next to Duncan helping him protect the rim. Josh Smith and eventually Splitter will help that. And you could see the same system prevailing with Splitter/Josh Smith once Duncan retires.

    This is probably all moot because Atlanta wouldn’t do this trade, but this is the sort of formula I would look for if I were Buford and Lindsey and Popovich.

  11. Richard Jefferson

    Richard Jefferson was an untradeable contract this season but he’ll have some value next season as an expiring contract. Similar value as Ray Allen had in this trade window.

    By itself, the expiring contract, it won’t have much value as a trade asset.

    However, unlike the Celtics, the Spurs are able to include more assets on top of the expiring deal. To create a more enticing package. Prospects like DeJuan Blair, George Hill and Tiago Splitter. And also future first round picks.

    That combination of expiring contract + prospect(s) + pick(s) would make a quality trade package.

    Unfortunately, I’m just not sure there will be anyone suitable on the trade market. When you add together today’s settled teams + teams past the 2010 free agency mark + lottery teams who want to build around their best player … there just doesn’t seem to be that many options available. A lot will happen between now and then but it’s not a promising situation.

    Stealing Atlanta’s Players

    I would be more inclined to go with Joe Johnson than Josh Smith. I think he could have a big impact with the Spurs.

    Go out and sign Ty Thomas with their MLE or Amir Johnson with part (most of) their MLE. Have a starting five of Hill + JJ + RJ + Amir/Thomas + Duncan with Ginobili as the sixth man. McDyess as the seventh man. Resign Roger Mason Jr as the backup guard. Nice eight man rotation.

    That would be a very tough squad to play against. A lot of defense on the perimeter and good mobility/defense at the four to seal up the team defense + interior defense. The Spurs would also retain a lot of offensive punch. Ginobili gives nice flexibility in the backcourt, could run the point in a large lineup. Still have some holes but it’s a good foundation to work off of.

    I think Joe Johnson could have a bigger impact in the short-to-medium term (next three years) than Josh Smith could. I would rather go down that road.

  12. Hey Dave,

    Wages of wins agrees with your assertion that Big Ben is the Piston’s most productive player. Thought you might be interested in that.

  13. Note: I read that the Spurs may be able to sign Tiago Splitter with their MLE this summer. I previously thought they had to be under the cap to offer him a non-rookie scale contract but I may be wrong about that. That teams are allowed to use cap space, their MLE, or their disabled player exception to sign a player like Splitter to a non-rookie-scale contract.

    I’ll update this when I know more.

  14. San Antonio Express Article — Link

    Tiago Splitter, the Spurs’ first-round pick in 2007, is widely acknowledged as the best big man in Europe. This summer, he has an opt-out clause in his contract with Tau Ceramica, the Spanish League team for which he has played since he was a teenager.

    This was thought to be good timing for the Spurs. The league’s collective bargaining agreement contains language that allows teams to treat first-rounders who play three years for non-NBA teams, post-draft, as if they are free agents. It will have been three years this June since the Spurs made Splitter the 28th selection of the 2007 draft, so he falls into that category.

    Up to now, the Spurs had been limited to offering the 6-foot-11 center $970,000 for the first year of his rookie scale contract. Now, they can offer a lot more, but they are still bound by collective bargaining agreement rules. Just as they have no cap room to offer big money to free agents from other teams this summer, they are limited to cap exceptions as they try to lure Splitter.

    The most they can offer: The mid-level cap exception, expected to be around $5 million

    So, the Spurs can in fact offer Tiago Splitter an MLE contract this summer. They do not need to be below the cap to offer a non-rookie scale contract. Good to know.

    I think Splitter should be the Spurs top target. I prefer Ty Thomas over Splitter but the Spurs have a much better chance at actually landing Splitter than they do Thomas.

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