Being Realistic about a Stojakovic Trade

Published: October 11, 2010

For as long as I’ve followed the Hornets, there has been an oddity roaming the NBA’s contractual landscape.  Most of the time it’s despised, but for one brief period, usually 3-6 months, it becomes a highly sought-after commodity that has enabled some of the most lopsided trades in league history.   I’m talking, of course, about the broken-down veteran with a massive contract.

For years, veterans like Keith Van Horn, Theo Ratliff and Dale Davis have, in their last hurrah in the league headlines, helped their teams land contributors or stars.  This occurs, of course, because their contracts are expiring, and are therefore very useful in clearing large amounts of salary from the books of teams wishing to start over.

Over the last six months or so, we’ve had a lot of speculation about our very own expiring contracts.  To some,(mea culpa!) Peja Stojakovic and his $14.5 million dollar salary has seemed like it could become the savior of the Tax-averse Hornets.  I know many nights I’ve dreamed about him being moved mid-season for fantastic talents such as Andre Igoudala, Danny Granger, and Loul Deng.  Or Carmelo Anthony.

Well, I hate to rain on our parade, but Peja isn’t going to snag the Hornets an impact player without some other sort of incentive being thrown in.  Like Marcus Thornton.  Or multiple Picks.  Or David West.


Because the formerly rare massive expiring contract isn’t rare this season.  With teams planning for the new CBA, a large number of contracts expire this summer, allowing teams to re-negotiate under, presumably, more favorable terms.  As a result, the sheer number of large expiring contracts is pretty significant.  From my count, 18 of the 30 teams have large expiring contracts they would put on the market should a team make a skilled veteran available for cap relief.  That means, of course, that the team trading the veteran can pick and choose amongst those expiring contracts – and demand more from the teams in the bidding.  Since a team starting over is bound to demand young players and draft picks we have a problem.  Those are the same assets the Hornets need to be hoarding right now.

However, even if all things were even, and the team was simply looking only for cap relief, the Hornets are still less well equipped than a half-dozen other teams.  Below is a list of all the teams with large expiring contracts. Consider which ones would be most attractive to a team trying to blow it all up and start over:

  • Atlanta
    Jamal Crawford $10.8 Million
  • Charlotte(Over Tax)
    Boris Diaw $9.0 Million
  • Dallas(Over Tax, Typically willing to go over, though)
    Caron Butler $10.6 Million
    Tyson Chandler $12.6 Million
  • Denver(Over Tax, Typically willing to go over, though)
    Kenyon Martin $16.5 Million
  • Cleveland(Over Tax, Typically willing to go over, though)
    LBJ Trade Exception $14.5 Million
  • Detroit
    Tayshaun Prince $11.1 Million
  • Golden State
    Dan Gadzuric $7.2 Million
  • Houston(Over Tax, Typically willing to go over, though)
    Shane Battier $7.3 Million
    J. Jeffries $6.8 Million
    Yao Ming $17.7 Million
  • Indiana
    Mike Dunleavy, $10.5 Million
    TJ Ford $8.5 Million
    Jeff Foster $6.7 Million
  • Memphis
    Z. Randolph $17.7 Million
  • Milwaukee
    Michael Redd $18.3 Million
  • New Jersey
    Troy Murphy $11.9 Million
  • New York
    Eddy Curry $11.3 Million
  • Phoenix
    Jason Richardson $14.4 Million
  • Sacramento
    Samuel Dalembert $13.4 Million
    Under the Cap, and can take on $14.6 Million straight up
  • San Antonio
    Tony Parker $13.5 Million
  • Toronto
    Leandro Barbosa $7.1 Million
    Chris Bosh Trade Exception $14.5 Million
  • Utah(Over Tax, more likely to dump salary)
    Andrei Kirilenko $17.8 Million

If I’m starting over and blowing it up, I want relief, picks, and no veterans that will come in and improve my record, since I want a crappy record to get a good pick of my own.  So who do I call from that list?  I’m calling Sacramento first to try and take back zero salary and no players to mess up my hoped for terrible record.  Next, I’m talking to Cleveland or Toronto for their trade exceptions for the same reason.  Then I’m calling New York or Milwaukee.  Finally I arrive at the Hornets, Pacers or Nuggets.

So in the end, I’m sad to say that Peja’s expiring contract isn’t that amazing an asset for the Hornets.  Hopefully Dell Demps can pull off a miracle, but I’m keeping my personal expectations for returns on Peja to one of two things:

  • A serviceable rotation player off the bench
  • A good player combined with a completely odious one with a bad contract.

What do you think we’ll see done?  Or will Peja play out the string and the Hornets get nothing from his contract?(Considering even if he drops off the books, the Hornets are STILL over the cap.)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.