If you’re like most people, news of a possible trade involving Brendan Haywood in free agency might’ve elicited an exasperated “so what?” So here’s why it could potentially have wide-ranging implications for both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs.
Haywood is on the books in Cleveland next season for a non-guaranteed $10.5 million, and the Cavs are reportedly talking to the Spurs regarding a possible trade of Haywood’s contract for some combination of Boris Diaw or Tiago Splitter to go along with Patty Mills. If the Spurs are, indeed, able to acquire Haywood’s contract, they would then presumably waive him, thus clearing that $10 million in cap space. That’ll give them the extra wiggle room they need to make a serious run at coveted free agent LaMarcus Aldridge.
Here’s more from Zach Harper of CBSSports.com on the specifics of how the deal might pan out:
“A deal of either Splitter ($8.5 million) or Diaw ($7.5 million) along with Patty Mills ($3.5 million) could work for Haywood, and then the Spurs could waive the center for extra cap space. If that happens and the market breaks just right for San Antonio, they could add Aldridge, retain Green, give a pay cut to Duncan, and re-sign Leonard. They’d likely have to renounce the free agent rights of Cory Joseph and Marco Belinelli. They’re also waiting for a decision on Manu Ginobili and whether or not he’ll retire.”
Cleveland’s spending in free agency this summer is set to reach historic levels, given the max deals they’re likely to hand out to both Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love. But if they can flip a virtual nonentity like Haywood into two players who can come in off the bench and offer the type of production Coach Pop has wrung out of them in San Antonio, it’ll be a win-win for both teams.
The only foreseeable roadblock would be whether the Spurs have reservations about helping out the Eastern Conference champs so much, given that, as an alternative, they could potentially unload Diaw or Splitter to a non-contender with cap space to burn and possibly get an expiring contract in return, or, even better, future (likely second-round) draft picks.
Likewise, the Cavs will have to do some serious soul-searching of their own about whether they want to help a juggernaut like the Spurs land the free-agent white whale that is LaMarcus Aldridge.
(via Zach Harper)