Why don't NBA teams make more preseason trades?
Last week, we examined the circumstances by which four percent of the league's players had the right to veto any trades in which they're included. It's important to understand and be aware of this when creating trade scenarios, be it professionally or privately.
It's not the simplest thing to document. The minutiae of Collective Bargaining Agreements never are, especially when it relates to trade rules. And yet it gets even more complicated.
In addition to the various trade veto powers that players can hold, there also exist other circumstances in which a player cannot be traded. These can include both players unable to be traded to specific teams, or players unable to be traded anywhere, and it can be difficult to remember who is subject to what rule. What is clear, however, is how these rules stifle the market.
The Philadelphia 76ers are deliberately sitting on eight figures worth of cap room, long after the free agent market dried up. They're doing this for a reason - they intend to use this space to essentially dictate the trade market between now and February. Teams needing or wishing to dump salary are normally prepared to offer basketball assets to do so, and by holding this ridiculous amount of cap room when no one else holds any, the Sixers can solicit the highest bids possible so as to best reinforce their roster. This process is already two months in - they are still yet to sign Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams - their lottery picks this summer - as doing so would make a small increment in the cap room they are trying to maximize via trade.
But at this point in the season, no trades are being made. Indeed, there were only three in the whole of August - Tony Wroten to Philadelphia for a second round pick, Donte Greene to Boston for Fab Melo and a pick, and Caron Butler to Milwaukee for Viacheslav Kravtsov and Ishmael Smith. Given all the prohibitions as to who can be traded where and when, it's no wonder this isn't the trading season.
We shall try to itemize all those prohibitions here. Firstly, to recap the previous post, there are four players will full no-trade clauses in the NBA today:
Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant.
There are a further thirteen players who have a very similar right to veto based off of their current Bird right status:
Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Andersen, Andray Blatche, Aaron Brooks, Derek Fisher, Francisco Garcia, Ryan Hollins, Bernard James, Josh McRoberts, Kenyon Martin, Nazr Mohammed, Jannero Pargo, Garrett Temple.
One further player, Atlanta's Jeff Teague, has the right to veto any trade he is in on account of his signing an offer sheet this summer that was subsequently matched. Those are the applicable player vetos.
The other instances in which a player cannot be traded are what we must now explore. The most common rule applicable here is the one which states that players who sign as a free agent (sign-and-trades count, as does re-signing) cannot be traded for at least three months, or until December 15th, whichever is later. This prohibition covers almost everyone who has signed as a free agent this summer (some count under others, as we will see).
Atlanta: Elton Brand, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, Pero Antic, David Lighty and DeMarre Carroll
Boston: Victor Faverani, Keith Bogans, Chris Babb, Kammron Taylor, Damon Bell-Holter, DeShawn Sims and Paul Pressey
Brooklyn: Andrei Kirilenko, Alan Anderson, Andray Blatche and Shaun Livingston
Charlotte: Al Jefferson, Gerald Henderson, Josh McRoberts, Jannero Pargo, James Southerland and Anthony Tolliver
Chicago: Mike Dunleavy Jr, Dexter Pittman, Kalin Lucas, Patrick Christopher and Nazr Mohammed
Cleveland: Andrew Bynum, Jarrett Jack, Earl Clark and Matthew Dellavedova
Dallas: Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Dejuan Blair, Devin Harris, Bernard James, Wayne Ellington, Fab Melo, Mickey McConnell, Devin Ebanks, D.J. Kennedy and Gal Mekel
Denver: J.J. Hickson, Randy Foye, Reginald Buckner, Damion James and Nate Robinson
Detroit: Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, Luigi Datome, Chauncey Billups, Will Bynum and Josh Harrellson
Golden State: Andre Iguodala, Marreese Speights, Jermaine O'Neal, Toney Douglas, Seth Curry and Dewayne Dedmon
Houston: Dwight Howard, Francisco Garcia, Ronnie Brewer, Reggie Williams, Omri Casspi, Marcus Camby, Aaron Brooks, Robert Covington, Jordan Henriquez and B.J. Young
Indiana: David West, Chris Copeland, C.J. Watson, Ron Howard, Darnell Jackson and Donald Sloan
L.A. Clippers: Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Darren Collison, Matt Barnes, Byron Mullens, Antawn Jamison, Brandon Davies and Ryan Hollins
L.A. Lakers: Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Wesley Johnson, Xavier Henry, Shawne Williams, Robert Sacre and Elias Harris
Memphis: Jon Leuer and Mike Miller
Miami: Chris Andersen, Michael Beasley, Eric Griffin and Greg Oden
Milwaukee: O.J. Mayo, Zaza Pachulia, Carlos Delfino, Gary Neal and Miroslav Raduljica
Minnesota: Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer and Ronny Turiaf
New Orleans: Tyreke Evans, Al-Farouq Aminu, Greg Stiemsma, Anthony Morrow, Lance Thomas and Arinze Onuaku
New York: Metta World Peace, Pablo Prigioni, Beno Udrih, Kenyon Martin, Jeremy Tyler, Chris Smith, Toure Murry and C.J. Leslie
Oklahoma City: Derek Fisher and Ryan Gomes
Orlando: Jason Maxiell and Ronnie Price
Phoenix: Dionte Christmas
Portland: Dorell Wright, Mo Williams, Dee Bost, Richard Howell, E.J. Singler and Earl Watson
Sacramento: Carl Landry, C.J. Aiken, DeQuan Jones and Trent Lockett
San Antonio: Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli and Jeff Pendergraph
Toronto: Tyler Hansbrough, D.J. Augustin, Austin Daye and Dwight Buycks
Utah: John Lucas and Ian Clark
Washington: Martell Webster, Eric Maynor, Garrett Temple and Al Harrington.
In addition, players re-signed who get more than a 120% raise on their previous salary are not tradeable until January 15th, if they re-signed using Early or Full Bird rights and the team re-signing them is over cap. Players re-signed using a different exception (as in the cases of Martell Webster or Matt Barnes) do not qualify, nor do players re-signed to more than a 120% raise using Early or Full Bird rights as part of a sign-and-trade (as in the case of Brandon Jennings). This criteria applies only to the following:
Dallas: Brandan Wright
Denver: Timofey Mozgov
Memphis: Tony Allen
Minnesota: Nikola Pekovic and Chase Budinger
New York: J.R. Smith
San Antonio: Tiago Splitter
Players cannot be traded for 30 days after signing as a draft pick. Late signees Anthony Bennett (Cleveland; untradeable until September 20th), Alex Len (Phoenix; September 29th) and Justin Hamilton (Miami; October 16th) fall under this rule, as will Noel and Carter-Williams when they eventually sign.
Those claimed off of waivers during the offseason cannot be traded until 30 days after the start of the offseason. Therefore, Gustavo Ayon (Atlanta), James Anderson, Tim Ohlbrecht (both Philadelphia) and Josh Akognon (Memphis) cannot be traded until November 28th.
Players received in trade by teams over the cap cannot be traded again for two months, unless they are being traded alone. This provision applies only to Donte Greene (Boston; untradeable until October 15th) and Luis Scola (Indiana; September 27th).
Players waived via the amnesty clause cannot be traded back to the team that waived them for the duration of the amnestied contract. Therefore, Luis Scola cannot be traded to Houston, Travis Outlaw to Brooklyn, Andray Blatche to Washington, Mike Miller to Miami, Chris Andersen to Denver, Brendan Haywood to Dallas or Metta World Peace to the L.A. Lakers, until their previous bad contracts would have expired. Furthermore, players waived the amnesty clause, and subsequently claimed off of amnesty waivers, they cannot be traded to anyone for the remainder of the season, although this currently applies to no one.
Players who signed offer sheets with other teams, then had them matched, cannot be traded to the team he signed with for a full year, even if they consent. Jeff Teague, therefore, cannot be traded to Milwaukee.
Finally, any player acquired after July 1st in a trade cannot be traded back to the team who traded him until the following July 1st. This, then, prevents the following players from returning to the following teams.
Boston - Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans (Brooklyn); Donte Greene (Memphis)
Brooklyn - Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry (Boston)
Dallas - Fab Melo (Memphis)
Denver - Randy Foye (Utah)
Detroit - Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee)
Golden State - Andre Iguodala (Denver)
Indiana - Luis Scola (Phoenix)
L.A. Clippers - J.J. Redick (Milwaukee), Jared Dudley (Phoenix)
Milwaukee - Caron Butler (Phoenix, L.A. Clippers), Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton (Detroit), Luke Ridnour (Minnesota)
Minnesota - Kevin Martin (Oklahoma City)
New Orleans - Tyreke Evans (Sacramento), Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia)
New York - Andrea Bargnani (Toronto)
Philadelphia - Tony Wroten (Memphis), Royce White (Houston)
Phoenix - Viacheslav Kravtsov (Detroit, Milwaukee), Ish Smith (Milwaukee), Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee (Indiana), Eric Bledsoe (L.A. Clippers)
Portland - Thomas Robinson (Houston), Robin Lopez, Terrel Harris (New Orleans)
Sacramento - Luc Richard Mbah A Moute (Milwaukee), Greivis Vasquez (New Orleans)
Toronto - Steve Novak (New York)
Utah - Brandon Rush, Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins (Golden State)
As you can see, there are plenty of complications standing in the way of preseason trades in the NBA. So many, in fact, it's almost miraculous that any occur at all.