Message Board GMs

Sports message boards is an interesting mix of technology, sports, and the human psyche. The anonymity of sitting behind a computer makes every emotion seem more heightened. Every losing streak is a lost season. Every winning streak a championship run. Every rumor is truth. Every trade idea is a rumor. Every draft pick is an All Star. For every move a GM makes there is at least someone that hates it.

OTOH, message boards can provide lots of great information. When a few intelligent posters get together & ask some good questions, you can only hope your GM is as astute. “I Need A Question Answered…” asked poster Jazz(FU). [I’m guessing he either is a musician at Fordham, Fairfield or another starting with “F” University, or he really hates the Utah Jazz.]

Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2004 3:33 pm Post subject: I need a question answered..


I see and fully understand the value of an expiring contract. But for an otherwise useless player, isnt a trade exception 10x more valuable? I mean a team like Phoenix that thought they had a legit shot at Kobe could trade us players for a future 2nd and take back zero salary, unlike with an expiring contract they have to take back salary until the end of the year. A trade exception HAS to be more valuable…

I’ll admit, I haven’t been giving 100% of my attention to the upcoming expansion draft. At the moment of reading this I hadn’t know about the trade exception rule. According to the Bobcats webpage on

The expansion draft is scheduled for June 22, but would be pushed back a day if the NBA Finals go to a seventh game. Teams have to protect at least one player who is either under contract or a restricted free agent, and no more than eight. Charlotte will select at least 14 players no more than one from a team. That means it’s far from a given that Portland will lose anyone. If they lose one under contract, the Blazers would receive a trade exception equal to that player’s salary for next season.

Recently, the papers have reported a lot of high salary players as unprotected (Antoine Walker, Allan Houston, Penny Hardaway, Eddie Jones, etc.). If you don’t know why, poster kosmovitelli will tell you:

The TPE really matters when you get a huge one.
Just imagine if the Bobcats take Allan Houston and we get a $17.5M TPE.

We could acquire via trade a $9M player in july then acquire a $5M player in september and a$3.5M player in october.
In that case, the TPE is a credit and you have one year to use it and you can split it.
If we want to trade Allan Houston, we can only use him once in a trade. That’s the bonus of the TPE.

Teams, like the Knicks or the Mavericks, that could never dream of having fiscal flexibility would have it if the Bobcats take one of their expensive players in the expansion draft. It would be as if you were under the cap by that player’s salary, even if you were still $20M over it. Other teams that want to get under the salary, can trade their players with contracts for part of this exception.

The first poster is asking why protect a contract that is expiring over a non-expiring one. The question is a lot more complicated than it looks. Let’s look at it from the Knicks’ GM point of view.

First is will Charlotte take Houston? They are operating with about a $30M cap, smaller than the rest of the NBA. Using half of their cap on Houston seems to be a crap shoot, especially since his health is in doubt. If they do take the risk, the question turns into can Isaiah make our team better with $17.5M to trade or spend? This part comes down to whether you think the Bobcats will take a flier on H20, and can Isaiah deliver if they do.

If the Bobcats don’t draft anyone from the Knicks, then the question we can ask is would we rather have the trade exception for Harrington or Mutombo? It’s much more likely that one of these guys would be taken by the Bobcats, since they make considerably less ($3M and $5M repectively). New York would then have a few extra million to play with, and the trade exception would be more valuable than the player. Sure both of they are tradeable now, since they are in the last year of their deals, but a team would more easily trade for the exception since they wouldn’t have to pay the salary for the rest of the year. In essense, if you traded a $5M trade exception for a $5M player, you’re giving the team $5M, since they don’t have to pay a player that amount. That is why it is more valuable than the expiring contract.

Looking back, I think Jazz(FU) brought up a good point. Isaiah has a track record of taking risks like the one he is doing with Allan Houston. Just ask Doleac, who was traded in the hopes that the Knicks would be able to pick him up back up off of waivers. At least this time the Knicks would get something in return if Isaiah lost Houston. I have yet to see a single credible report saying that Charlotte would take Houston, so the chances have to be very slim. Most likely the Knicks will come out of the expansion draft without a single change, but it would have been better if we got a small exception for one of our lesser used players.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

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