Kings Should Act On LTBMs

Yesterday, I wrote an article on Talkhoops about Luxury Tax Bowel Movements. What are Luxury Tax Bowel Movements you ask? Well, LTBMs are essentially when a team trades a player away and receives nothing but a conditional second round draft pick from the future.  Most recently, we saw it happen with the New Orleans Hornets when they traded Rasual Butler and his nearly $4 million contract to the Los Angeles Clippers for a second round draft pick in 2016.

Why did the Hornets give up such a nice, young three-point threat that would be perfect for a system featuring a penetrating, pass-first point guard? They didn’t want to pay the luxury tax on his contract. So instead, they dumped his salary for what is sure to be essentially nothing.

What does this have to do with the Kings?

Well, the Kings are one of four teams that are currently under the salary cap with their payroll and are realistically the only team along with the Oklahoma City Thunder that have enough salary cap room to make a significant addition. The Kings are roughly $6.8 million under the cap right now. So they can add a player making up to that much in a trade without having to give away a single player/contract.

Realistically, the Kings could even ask for a future protected first round pick along with the player and only have to give up a second round pick. The Grizzlies just did this with their acquisition of Steven Hunter from Denver. They gave up a second round pick to acquire Hunter and Denver’s 2010 first round pick. The Thunder/Sonics did this a couple of years ago when they acquired Kurt Thomas and two future first round picks from the Suns for a 2009 second round draft pick that ONLY went to Phoenix if it was outside of the top 55.

While the Kings probably won’t get as good of a deal as the Thunder/Sonics got that day, they can definitely pilfer a future pick if it means saving a team nearly $14 million in salary and the luxury tax penalty that follows with it.

Here’s the list of the most likely available LTBMs that I came up with:

Teams Possible Luxury Tax Bowel Movements
Boston Celtics — $12.5m over Brian Scalabrine ($3.5m), Tony Allen ($2.5m)
* Charlotte Bobcats — $2.2m under Raja Bell ($5.3m)
Cleveland Cavaliers — $12m over Zyndrunas Ilgauskas ($11.6m), Daniel Gibson ($4.1m, 3 yrs)
Dallas Mavericks — $22.5m over Drew Gooden ($4.5m)
Denver Nuggets — $6.5m over Malik Allen ($1.3m)
Houston Rockets — $5.6m over Brian Cook ($3.5m), Brent Barry ($2.1m)
Los Angeles Lakers — $22.5m over Derek Fisher ($5.1m)
Miami Heat — $2.5m over Quentin Richardson ($8.7m)
Milwaukee Bucks — $1m over Luke Ridnour ($6.5m), Kurt Thomas ($3.8m)
New Orleans Hornets — $4.5m over Antonio Daniels ($6.6m)
New York Knicks — $10.5m over Larry Hughes ($13.7m), Darko Milicic ($7.3m), Chris Duhon ($6.1m)
Orlando Magic — $11m over Marcin Gortat ($5.9m, 5 yrs)
Phoenix Suns — $9m over Leandro Barbosa ($6.6m)
San Antonio Spurs — $11m over Roger Mason ($3.8m), Matt Bonner ($3.3m), Michael Finley ($2.5m)
Utah Jazz — $13.5m over Carlos Boozer ($12.7m), Matt Harpring ($6.5m), Kyle Korver ($5.4m)
Washington Wizards — $9m over Mike Miller ($9.8m), Mike James ($6.5m), Brendan Haywood ($6m)

* – Bobcats aren’t over the luxury tax at the moment but hold the restricted free agent rights to Raymond Felton, which technically puts them over because of his cap hold.

If we’re sticking with the idea that the Kings won’t add salary past what their cap room allows, that narrows the most likely possible acquisitions down to Brian Scalabrine, Tony Allen, Raja Bell, Drew Gooden, Brian Cook, Brent Barry, Luke Ridnour, Kurt Thomas, Antonio Daniels, Matt Harpring, and Mike James.

Out of those players, the most valuable future draft picks would most likely come from the Hornets and Bucks.

For the Kings, it seems completely worth it to acquire Antonio Daniels from the Hornets and have them throw in their first round draft pick 2010 or 2011. Although I’m not sure how likely this scenario is, a lot of people assume that the Hornets will eventually have to trade Chris Paul due to the bad economy. Let’s say that the Hornets either have to deal Paul or suffer through a season in which he’s injured for a significant portion of the campaign in the next two years. Now, how valuable would that Hornets draft pick be to the Kings? They could use it to add young talent or use it in a trade to acquire a big time veteran.

And if the Kings decided to go after Luke Ridnour, they can trade for him and the Bucks conditional first round pick without having to give up a whole lot in return. The Kings have never been in position to do this financially with the their salary cap usually overflowing with contract but now they find themselves in a position of flexibility. Shouldn’t they take advantage of this while they can?

The NBA has many franchises in no shape to pay any kind of luxury tax penalty and on top of that, miss out on the dispersing of those penalty payments to the teams that didn’t pass the luxury tax threshold. Geoff Petrie could easily learn from the Sam Presti playbook here and try to take advantage of those teams. It’s smart business and a relatively cheap way of rebuilding your franchise with young talent.

If the Kings don’t acquire these expiring contracts that can net them valuable assets, they’re doing their fans and organization a great disservice.


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