Cap space is exponentially increasing in value around the NBA as teams recover from what, in many instances, turned out to be a reckless 2016 offseason. Scores of players signed contracts this summer worth unexpectedly low sums, a trend people around the league believe will leak into 2018 free agency, per ESPN.com’s Tim MacMahon and Bobby Marks.
So, with this in mind, let us now commence Salary-Dumping SZN (sdSZN)—henceforth known as the 11-month span between free-agency periods in which franchises feverishly scour the globe for trades that strip some of the Association’s worst deals from their ledger.
Participation in sdSZN is motivated by any number of factors. Some teams might be looking to clear the decks in advance of the following summer or beyond. Others are trying to skirt around exceedingly suffocating luxury-tax bills. One or two squads will always be driven by an opportunity to parlay a cap-sheet snag into a superior player.
On the other side of the fence, we have the potential destinations for these unwanted deals. These teams are galvanized almost entirely by asset accumulation. They want the sweeteners—usually first-round picks and prospects—attached to grotty contracts.
Any player perceived to have one of the league’s worst deals is eligible for relocation. This look into the worst contracts at every position will be our guiding light, with only a few exceptions.
Recently signed free agents are not on the board. They can’t be traded until December, and seldom do we see front offices pivot so soon. Those who still play an integral part in their team’s success will be passed over as well. You don’t need to feel great about the Nicolas Batum or DeMar DeRozan contracts. In fact, you shouldn’t. But they’re still pivotal cogs in a playoff hopeful’s machine.
Finally, players on bad contracts who have already been moved this summer will not count toward the final tally. Pour one out for Allen Crabbe, Timofey Mozgov and Victor Oladipo on your own time.
Everyone else is fair game—so long as their contract can be deep-sixed within reason.