Robin Lopez trade scenarios that fit CBA rules

Posted by on July 27th, 1:41 am

Editor’s Note: I have since learned that I misunderstood a CBA rule. Please consult this post for the end result of this trade’s hold up.

By now you know that the Suns’ three-way trade involving Robin Lopez has been delayed because the iteration widely reported did not fit CBA rules.

The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro reported Thursday evening that the odds of the teams finding common ground “improved Thursday, but its completion remained tenuous with resolution expected Friday.” Coro also believes Lopez would sign his $4 mil qualifying offer if this deal falls apart, which would not be a terrible situation in its own right.

For those who read last night’s trade story early in the day, I would recommend taking a second look since I added some potential trade scenarios with analysis at the bottom of the post. For those who prefer the simplified version I will present below a few scenarios that I believe would push the trade through below.

As always, please let me know if you have any other ideas or spot an error in any of these scenarios. I’m still working on my graduate degree in capology. Some of these ideas have come in conjunction with a long email string with Hornets247′s Jason Calmes.

  • A four-way deal cooked up by Calmes in which a fourth team trades a player making between $2,600,000-$2,856,708 and takes back Warrick. As Calmes put it, “The former is the smallest amount that can be sent by a team using the TPE and still take in Warrick. The larger is the amount that a team can send to the Hornets and still give Lopez the amount in the `first trade’ if it was legal, $4,899,293, in the first year. This avoids the aggregation scenario.” By doing this kind of trade, the Hornets would only be sending out Miller and thus would not need to aggregate salary. The only team/player we found that could potentially make sense is Reggie Williams from the Bobcats ($2,612,500). The deal would look something like this: Suns get Miller, Johnson, first; Hornets get Robin, Williams; Minny gets a second; and Charlotte gets Warrick and how ever many seconds and cash it takes for them to facilitate. The problem to me is why would Charlotte (or anybody else) be willing to take on Warrick for seconds or without dumping a long-term deal.
  • NO trades Xavier Henry to a fourth team with cap space or a trade exception for a second-rounder. Lopez and Brad Miller are traded for each other in a separate trade, and then there’s a four-way deal in which the Suns get Johnson and the pick, New Orleans gets Warrick and a second, Minny gets Jerome Dyson and two second-rounders and the fourth team gets Henry. This could also be a three-way deal in which the Suns get Henry and his $2.3 mil salary with a 2013-14 team option for a second on top of the rest of the particulars.
  • If Lopez signs his qualifying offer first, the Suns and Wolves could execute their portion of the trade in which Phoenix would get Johnson and a first for a second. This would largely wipe out the rest of the Suns’ 2012 cap room, but they would have a nice backup center on an affordable expiring contract that they could potentially get an asset for once he’s eligible to be traded on Dec. 15 and Channing Frye returns from his injury.
  • Same original deal except Minnesota gets Al-Farouq Aminu instead of Dyson. It’s completed as two transactions (with Lopez being swapped for Miller separately) to satisfy cap rules. This one is extremely unlikely since it only saves the Wolves $1.3 million rather than $3.5 million. They might be willing to deal a first for the latter total but not the former.
  • The Suns could send out Telfair instead of Warrick in the original trade. This would work because the Hornets would no longer need to send out Dyson, so they would not be aggregating a salary with that of Miller. Then again, not sure why the Suns would be willing to swap Warrick’s $4 mil salary for Telfair’s puny one to make this work.
  • The Suns could waive P.J. Tucker and do the original trade without Warrick or Dyson, so no aggregation. Again, this would eat up the rest of the 2012 cap space (giving the Suns no room to pick up more assets during the season as a facilitator for teams desperately needing to shed money), so this wouldn’t really make much sense for them.
  • The three teams could also always just wait until Sept. 13 when Brad Miller will have been with New Orleans for two months and thus could be aggregated in a trade with other players coming from New Orleans. However, I don’t think anybody wants to wait that long, particularly with free agents like Lopez and Andrei Kirilenko in play that could always change their minds and muck everything up if they are given a better offer in the meantime. If the non-guaranteed part of Miller’s contract becomes fully guaranteed before then (only $848K is guaranteed), then obviously this idea is moot as well. This could also prevent the teams from making other moves, yet if all the Suns want after this is a minimum center they wouldn’t be affected.

That’s all I have for now, and as you see as you get further down the list the trades seem to make less and less sense for the Phoenix Suns.

The key issue is that New Orleans can’t take back more than $7,756,000 in a non-aggregated deal involving only Miller ($5.104 mil x 150 percent + $100K). Unfortunately they can’t take back both Lopez and Warrick for that amount (unless Robin really cuts his demands, which isn’t likely).

Furthermore, they could do a Lopez/Miller swap and then find a way for New Orleans to send out enough money to be able to take back Warrick. Or they could find a team willing to trade New Orleans a player of requisite salary in return for Warrick, seconds and cash.

That’s why Calmes has been looking for that sweet spot between $2.6 mil (the minimum needed for a team to take back Warrick, assuming nobody could be enticed enough to take him into cap space) and $2.86 mil (the most New Orleans can take back while still giving Lopez his agreed-upon salary and trading out just Miller). By Friday night we may very well know if that sweet spot is attainable.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Hakim Warrick · Minnesota Timberwolves · New Orleans Hornets · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Analysis · Robin Lopez

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Joe // Jul 27, 2012 at 5:12 am

    @Michael: Referring to your second bullet point, to me this scenario seems the most likely to work if the fourth team is left out of the trade.
    -Miller is traded to the Suns for Lopez.
    -In a separate 3 team trade the Suns send Warrick to NO
    -NO sends Henry to the Suns and 2 2nd rd picks and Dyson to the Wolves
    -Wolves send Johnson and 1st rd pick to the Suns

    I know I don’t have as good an understanding of the CBA as everyone else involved, but from what I’ve pieced together these trades seem to work.
    If these trades do work under the rules, then the only issue I see is whether or not NO wants the Suns to give up a 2nd round pick in return for Henry, a player who the Suns probably don’t really want. Or for that matter, maybe the Suns want New Orleans to give them a 2nd round pick just to take on Henry’s contract for a year.

  • 2 JT's Hoops Blog // Jul 27, 2012 at 5:53 am

    I’ll be really rooting for the traden to go through because I really want Lopez to have a fresh start. It was obvious from the day he was drafted that Phoenix was not a good fit for him. Just look at how he played at Stanford.

  • 3 Greg // Jul 27, 2012 at 6:47 am

    I am curious why some people on other post have said “We don’t want Henry he sucks, we want nothing to do with him”, but comparatively, Henry hasnt been all that much worse then Johnson. He was drafted 8 picks later in the same draft, is much cheaper, and at 6-6 he is more of a true 2 then Johnson and he still has a chance to be a decent bench player. He is also much cheaper then Johnson. Neither player has high motor, and both players have the length to be good defenders.

    Not saying at all i prefer Henry over Johnson, just questioning the absolute dislike and lack of want for Henry versus the majority like for Wes Johnson.

  • 4 Greg // Jul 27, 2012 at 6:53 am

    obviously knowing the key to the deal for the suns is getting that first along with Johnson

  • 5 Kelvin // Jul 27, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Can we structure the Robin Trade like this?

    1. PHX Trade Warrick to NOH for Brad Miller + 2 second rounders + Dyson (NOH should be under the cap after this trade)

    2. MIN Trade Wes. Johnson + 1st round pick to PHX for the 2 second rounders + Dyson acquired from NOH (separate Dyson for a 1st round pick if we need to follow the “a team cannot deal a player “for two months after receiving the player in trade, if the trade aggregates the player’s salary with the salaries of other player” rule)

    3. PHX renounce the Birds-Right for Robin Lopez
    4. NOH sign Robin Lopez using the mid-level exception

  • 6 Jason A. // Jul 27, 2012 at 6:58 am

    I’m amused that the quality of research is so high here and there’s similar excellence displayed by Calmes. Why don’t we take our FO office and give them a website to blog on, and then we can make you PBO? Blanks can stay because he does…wait, what does he do? Oh yeah, says stupid shit at press conferences. Guaranteed at least one cringe per avail.

  • 7 Nick // Jul 27, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Would this work:

    Trade 1:
    Suns Get: Aminu, Johnson, 1st Rd Pick (From Minny)
    Hornets Get: Warrick
    Wolves Get: Dyson, 2 2nd Rd Pick (1 from Hornets, 1 from Suns), Cash

    Trade 2:
    Suns Get: Miller’s Contract
    Hornets Get: Lopez

  • 8 WonderBoyRoy // Jul 27, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Hornets would never trade Aminu who projects to be their starting SF and not get either a 1st round pick or another SF in return.

  • 9 BurnBabyBurn // Jul 27, 2012 at 9:51 am

    @Wonderboyroy Ok then we just trade with Wolves and the Hornets can start looking for another center.

  • 10 WonderBoyRoy // Jul 28, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Relax man I was being practical and not talking out my bum like you…

  • 11 WonderBoyRoy // Jul 28, 2012 at 9:25 am

    The whole initiation of the trade was the Hornets, Wolves stepped in to facilitate the trade. So how would the trade between the Wolves and Suns go? Idiot

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