By Craig Fields
A move in the NBA that will not get much notice, but probably should, was made by the Cavaliers Sunday night. The strategic move to trade Brendan Haywood and Mike Miller to the Portland Trailblazers was very smart. The Cavaliers were able to free up cap space and decrease their 2015-2016 luxury tax bill from over $58 million to just over $16 million, which means that they will incur a smaller payment penalty for going over the predetermined guideline level set by the NBA.
In addition to saving money on the tax, the Cavs also get Haywood’s $10.2 million and Miller’s $2.85 million off their salary cap as well as get two trade exceptions for the two dollar amounts mentioned above.
If Haywood had still been on the roster by August 1, the Cavs would have owed him the $10.2 million. However, with him leaving they can now allocate that money elsewhere; which, will be important because this team still needs to find a two-guard. Whether or not J.R. Smith is that guard remains to be seen.
However, with Matthew Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson both signing contracts greater than their qualifying offers, the Cavs should expect their tax bill to increase yet again. Also, the Cavs still need to round out the rest of their rotation. That will probably add to that luxury tax even more.
The Trailblazers were able to take on over $13 million dollars of salary because they have $25 million dollars to play with since four of their starters left. In return they received two second-round draft picks in 2019 and 2020. This does make some sense because the Trailblazers are clearly in rebuilding mode.