The Challenge Of Trading Big Baby

Yesterday the NY Post opined that the Celtics might be trying to mash up the Daniels and Big Baby rumors with a 3 team deal with Indy and New Jersey.

Maybe an inventive deal could be devised involving three teams. The Nets have a couple of trade exceptions from the Vince Carter deal that could come into play. The Celtics likely want a big man in return, the Pacers want a wing.

Trade exceptions, 3 way trades, this is all enough to make my brain cramp.  However, the most complicated thing is how to work out the Big Baby sign and trade because he's a BYC player.

For review, lets look again at Roy Hobbs' Salary Cap FAQ:

14) If it looks like we're going to lose BBD as a free agent, could we sign and trade him to another team?

Nothing prevents us from signing and trading BBD using the Early Bird exception.  However, Base Year Compensation rules (as explained in Question 13) make it pretty tough to pull off such a trade.  For instance, if BBD signs for $4.0 million in his first year, there is *no* 1-for-1 trade that could be made for him under BYC rules.  There may be some wiggle room by including a minimum salary player, but there's not much.

By example:

Let's say BBD signs for $4 million in the first year, and we want to trade him to Team X.

For BYC purposes, BBD's salary counts as a $2 million salary outgoing from Boston.   To fit within trade rules, the most salary we can take back from another team (Team X) is 125% of that amount, plus $100k.  That amounts to $2.6 million.

Does that mean we can acquire a player making $2.6 million, then?  No.  The trade has to work from Team X's end, too, and from their end, they have to count BBD's entire $4 million salary.  The absolute least amount they could send out in a trade of a $4 million salary is $3.12 million.  As you see, that's still more than the $2.6 million Boston can take back.

Now, one way around this would be to include a minimum salary player in the team (going from Team X to Boston), because minimum salary players don't have to be counted as incoming salary in a trade.  For instance, let's say we want to trade BBD's $4 million salary for a player making $2.5 million and a minimum salary player, making around $800k.  Can we do that?  Yes.

As noted above, Boston can trade BBD's hypothetical $4 million salary for a player making up to $2.6 million.  In this case, the $2.5 million player fits under this restriction.  Because minimum salary players can be included in a trade at any time without counting against outgoing salary, from Team X's end, it is only sending out $2.5 million in salary (when, in actuality, the real number it is trading is $3.3 million).  On the other hand, remember that Boston has to take back at least $3.12 million in salary.  Does it meet this requirement?  Yes, because Boston can elect to include the actual amount of salaries it is taking back, or in this case, $3.3 million.

The lesson to learn here is that a sign-and-trade with BBD is possible, but it's not probable, due to the small margin of error with which the Celts have to work in terms of matching salaries.

I tried for a while to figure out a way for a Daniels and Sean Williams for Davis (with trade exception to Indy) deal to work, but I don't think it adds up because Williams isn't a minimum salary player - unless a rookie contract qualifies, but I don't think so.  So maybe Roy or someone smarter than me can figure this out. 

Besides, I was sort of hoping that we could get Daniels for Tony Allen and then some good return pieces for Big Baby (or keep Baby).  Time will tell though.

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