I have recently posted on Orlandopinstripedpost.com an idea for a trade that I think helps both teams. The Pacers are facing a dilemma regarding their cap/luxury tax situation while trying to compete for a championship while the Magic are in full rebuild mode and need some cap relief. I have copied parts of the post verbatim but have left out some of the context as it pertains to Magic fans. I am curious how this looks from your perspective--comments are very welcome!
....The fact of the matter, is that when you look at trading guys like Jameer, Big Baby, and Afflalo, you have to step out of your Magic-fan shoes and remember that around the league, Jameer is still viewed as an undersized PG on the wrong side of 30 and Davis is viewed as a highly serviceable backup PF, but just that--a backup. Afflalo is the most attractive trade chip because he is 27, has a decent contract and can score the ball and defend. But there are only certain types of teams that are in the market for their services. So, as much as I'd like to think we could get a couple more Tobias Harris's for the three of these guys, I just don't see it happening. However, what is the ultimate goal when trading these players?
Get Their Contracts Off The Books. Period.
If we can get something in return, that's terrific. But really, we just want to create minutes for the youth on the roster and clear cap space so that we can sign players that fit into our rebuilding process or have the space to keep some of these young guys when their rookie contracts are up.
The certain type of teams that will be in the market for these players are contenders who will have low value draft picks they might be willing to part with in exchange veteran talent that will help them win now. The team I'm looking at today is the Indiana Pacers. Here is my proposed trade:
G Aaron Afflalo
2014 1st Round Draft Pick
First, let's look at the basketball side of this trade. Paul George is a small forward and not a shooting guard. He plays much better at the 3 spot because he can use his quickness and athleticism against slower guys at the position, (save LeBron James) rather than speedier 2 guards. Moving the oft-injured, and now 30-year-old Granger allows George to start at his natural position while bringing in an all-around solid shooting guard in Afflalo, who's contract is all in his prime basketball years (27-30). A starting backcourt of Hill (6'3") and Afflalo (6'5") would still give Indiana good size, and Afflalo's skills as a defender would fit right in with the Pacers identity. In Glen Davis, they get the perfect backup to David West. Another talented defensive player, Davis would do more than fill the void left by Tyler Hansbrough while giving great energy off the bench along with sparkplug Lance Stephenson and newly-signed Chris Copeland. Davis' contract is also in his prime years.
Now, this deal would have a very real impact on Indiana's cap-situation. Currently, they are committed to $52 million according to basketball-reference.com but with the additions of CJ Watson, Chris Copeland, Solomon Hill, and the re-signing of David West, their payroll will be roughly $70 million. However, Paul George will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2013-2014 season and while Indiana will undoubtedly match any offer for the young All-Star currently on his rookie contract, you can be certain a team will max him out in order to make Indiana pay a hefty price tag (Lance Stephenson is in the same situation, though he will probably demand only 4-6 million per year).
This means if they make this trade, committing to the contracts of Davis and Afflalo, they will have to go about $18 million into the luxury tax in order keep George (assuming the tax threshold is still roughly $72 million). Would they rather watch Granger's contract expire and save some money when re-signing George? Any other roster additions they would want to make would have to be minimum contracts as they would still be $4 million into the luxury tax once George is signed at the max. Or would they be willing to go all-in with a core of Hill-Afflalo-George-West-Hibbert over the next 2-3 years? The fact that they spent the money to re-sign David West might indicate they are willing to spend if it will deliver a championship. And the luxury tax is usually meant for those who want to win championships.
As for the Magic, they would get Granger's expiring 14 million dollar contract (along with his knees), which they could try to flip at the deadline (they would have to let Granger log major minutes to keep his trade value up) or simply let expire as he rides the pine. This would allow young players like Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris to get the playing time they need to develop. Orlando would also get another first-round pick from the highly touted 2014 draft class, which they can use to draft another young player or use as a trading chip. Although it would likely be in the 20's and would certainly be no Andrew Wiggins, which is presumably why Indiana would be okay parting with it, Hennigan has proven he can find NBA level talent deep in the draft.
Let me hear your thoughts!