December 4, 2012
Even though he signed a one year minimum salary contract using the Minimum Salary Exception, Nazr Mohammed has a 15% trade kicker in his current contract.
[...] When they are given out, they are done so as leverage. If a team and a player cannot meet in the middle on contract negotiations, the inclusion of a trade bonus serves to bridge the gap; an increase in salary upon being traded gives greater incentive to accept perceived home town discounts. In Nazr's case, negotiations probably can't have gone on for too long, as there was surely no dispute as to the fact that he was a minimum salary contract calibre player.
What Nazr's trade kicker does it make him harder to trade. The minimum salary exception allows teams not only to sign players to the minimum salary for one or two seasons, but also to trade for players signed to the minimum salary for one or two seasons. This is why trades such as bench warmers for second rounders happen quite often, and why so many pedantically small trade exceptions exist. By having a trade kicker in his deal, Nazr makes himself more difficult to trade (which, considering Chicago's proximity to the hard cap, may well be considered some day soon). Unless he opts to waive it, the trade kicker pushes his contract above the minimum, making it no longer absorbable by the minimum salary exception or a similarly sized trade exception. And so thus the recipient team must either match the salary, have a bigger trade exception, or have the cap room to absorb his salary outright. This limits the number of potential Nazr Mohammed trade partners; the difference is very negligible, but impactful enough to merit commentary.
Here's the real question - where did he get sufficient leverage to warrant such a tool?
February 26, 2011
Oklahoma City shone this week, shoring up their weakest position and picking up a quality backup guard in the process, all for spare parts. D.J. White (a power forward who was never going to crack the rotation), Jeff Green (a talented sixth man type caught on entirely the wrong team), Nenad Krstic (who was a good candidate to leave this summer anyway) and Mo Peterson (who was definitely going to leave this summer anyway), combined with a future protected first round pick from the Clippers, saw them land two starting calibre centres in Kenny Perkins and Nazr Mohammed who should greatly improve their defense, along with Nathan Robinson, who won't.
Perkins fits the big defensive anchor role for Oklahoma City that Cole Aldrich hasn't. His perennially underwhelming numbers belie his impact; he will slide right in and sure up a frankly rather average defense. The same is true of Mohammed, who will be an incredibly good rental for the Thunder. Mohammed did not want to leave Charlotte, going so far as to mention retiring if he did not re-sign there this summer, but now he's gone to a very good situation, where he'll play big minutes on one of the league's best. Throughout his entire career, people have underappreciated how productive Nazr Mohammed has been, and still is. When you see him average 8/6 in the playoffs, you'll remember.
Even when looking at those numbers, the Mohammed trade was also good for Charlotte, who picked up a solid power forward prospect in White in exchange for a veteran who was expiring anyway. If they really want Nazr back, they can sign him back in 2 years, when the lockout ends. And the Gerald Wallace trade was not bad either - two first round picks, a potentially useful backup small forward and complete salary absolution from a struggling and expensive player who seems to have already peaked is a pretty good return in any deadline deal. Gerald Wallace isn't Pau Gasol; this trade wasn't that trade. It's a good deal for Portland, but not a fleecing.