CBA Corner: What all do I need to know about the Traded Player Exception the Mavericks have?

One of the more confusing CBA tools is the traded player exception. I want to help you understand what it is and how the Mavericks might use it. At the end, I’ll also give my prediction for if they actually will.

What all do I need to know about the Traded Player Exception the Mavericks have?

What is a Traded Player Exception (TPE) and how big is the one the Mavericks have?

  • A TPE is created for a team when they trade a player into another team’s salary cap space or TPE.
  • It can only be used to absorb a salary up to $100,000 more than the TPE
  • The Mavericks have a $10,865,952 TPE that expires June 27, 2022

What can it be used for?

  • The TPE the Mavs have was created in the Josh Richardson trade and is the exact size of Richardson’s 2020-21 salary ($10,865,952). So, any player with a 2021-22 salary up to $10,965,952 can be acquired using the Richardson TPE without any salary having to be sent the other way.
  • If it is used to absorb a salary it reduces in size by that salary amount. So if it was used to absorb a $5,000,000 player the Mavs would still have a $4,865,952 TPE. In fact, the TPE Boston used to acquire Richardson was created when Boston sign-and-traded Gordon Hayward to Charlotte. Boston used the TPE to get Evan Fournier from Orlando and then Boston used the remainder on Josh Richardson.

What can it not be used for?

  • It CANNOT be combined at all. Seriously… at all. This is the number one-way people misunderstand TPEs
  • In other words… NO, the Mavericks can’t add the TPE to Dwight Powell in order to acquire a $21,000,000 salary.
  • Teams also cannot sign anyone to a contract using the TPE. It is only for trades and not for signing free agents

Who can they NOT acquire with the TPE?

Because the TPE expires BEFORE the new 2022-23 financial year there are players who are ineligible to be traded. Trades made after a team’s season ends and before the new financial year can only involve players who have contracts that extend into the next season without any team or player options. That makes free agents like Serge Ibaka and Jeremy Lamb ineligible. And it also makes all players with unexercised team or player options in the 2022-23 season ineligible.

This is a list of players that cannot be acquired with the TPE because they have unexercised 2022-23 options. The Player (or team in the case of Zubac) COULD agree to pick up the option. This is exactly what happened when the Mavericks traded Richardson to Boston last July. Agreeing to pick up the option doesn’t seem likely in the case of Portis or Batum because their options are clearly under market value. The others are possible but it is a potential roadblock.

  • Bobby Portis (PO)
  • Nicolas Batum (PO)
  • JaMychal Green (PO)
  • Ivica Zubac (TO)
  • PJ Tucker (PO)
  • Patty Mills (PO)
  • Pat Connaughton (PO)
  • Jeff Green (PO)

Who are some players they can legally use the TPE right now?

  • Larry Nance Jr
  • Richaun Holmes
  • Derrick Favors
  • Alec Burks
  • Royce O’Neal
  • Cedi Osman
  • Juan Hernangomez
  • Justin Holiday
  • Jaxson Hayes
  • Garrett Temple
  • Forkan Korkmaz
  • PJ Washington
  • Jarred Vanderbilt
  • Terrance Davis
  • Georges Niang

Prediction

I think it’s most likely that the Mavericks do NOT use the TPE because of two competing

Why do I think that?

I think that because the Mavericks are very bullish on re-signing Brunson and will therefore be DEEP in the luxury tax. So, if hypothetically the Mavericks use the TPE on Derrick Favors and his $10,183,800 2022-23 salary then the tax bill gets out of hand quickly. After re-signing Brunson the Mavericks will potentially be 20 million over the cap. At that point the Mavericks would owe 45 million in luxury tax. Add 10 million more in the form of Derrick Favors and it goes to 85 million in tax. 40 million in luxury tax for Favors just isn’t realistic. And then you add a player you sign at the Taxpayer MLE at 6.392 million and the bill goes to over 116 million.

So, the player another team is willing to give up by us absorbing him into out TPE, THAT player would need to be worth multiples of his salary. I just don’t find that likely.

I could change my mind if the Mavericks think the player is a difference maker. This could also mean they’d be including the 26 overall pick for a player more worth his higher salary. That could also include salary going out in a paralell transaction. That would lessen the incoming salary’s luxury tax impact. Plus, as I said in my prediciton, I can see the TPE being used to take on a smaller salary in the right situation.

Traded Player Exceptions are a bit tricky. They can be valuable but how valuable often depends on other team’s situations. Let’s see if the Mavericks can use this TPE to their advantage before June 27th.

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