Using the Buddy Hield TPE

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Published: July 14, 2017

As I wrote about earlier this week, an optimal way for the Pelicans to add talent without giving up a player or triggering the hard cap is by using one or both of their traded player exceptions accumulated over the past year. One of them (received in exchange for Buddy Hield) would allow New Orleans to add a player (or players) making up to $3.6 million in salary, and the other (received for Tim Frazier) would allow them to add $2.2 million in salary. So now, the question becomes not just “can the Pelicans use this exception”, but “how can they use it for a player who can help?”

First, it is important to keep in mind what the team needs most right now – shooting. Not just shooting, though – willing shooting. The Pelicans need someone who not only shoots the ball well from three-point range, but isn’t afraid to let it fly when open and forces defenses to extend out to defend that shot. Take last season, for example – there is ample data to suggest that E’Twaun Moore is a better shooter than Langston Galloway, but I’d argue that Galloway scares defenses more than Moore since he is always ready and looking to shoot.

Based on that need, I did a quick search on basketball-reference.com to see which players over the past five seasons have shot the ball from distance both well and often. The player who has attempted – by FAR – the most three-pointers per 100 possessions while making at least 36% of them is Troy Daniels, a reserve guard for the Memphis Grizzlies. In fact, if we shrink down the list by increasing the barriers to entry, the company he sits alongside is a pretty impressive group. Daniels, conveniently enough, will earn $3.4 million next season and $3.3 million in 2018-19, and therefore would slide perfectly into that Hield TPE. Seems like an ideal fit, right?

Of course, it takes two to tango, so Memphis would also have to be willing to part with him. Fortunately for New Orleans, they have spend the summer adding or retaining guards and wings (with the exception of Tony Allen). The Grizzlies added a shooting guard in Ben McLemore in addition to former Pelicans guard/wing Tyreke Evans. They also have Andrew Harrison, Wade Baldwin, and Wayne Selden, along with Mike Conley. This group of perimeter players would conceivably make Daniels expendable, and after talking with a couple of Grizzlies writers, they agree that a second round pick is fair value for him in a vacuum.

That being said, Memphis may value the depth that Daniels provides over a second round pick and a little bit of salary relief (Memphis is currently above the cap but well below the tax line). If that is the case, a much more logical move would be for the Pelicans to send their second round pick to a third team that can provide the Grizzlies with a player who better fills a need – a 3/4 forward, for example. Something like this would work (with a second round pick going from the Pelicans to the Nets):

A simple move such as the above would theoretically help all three teams. The Pelicans receive a trigger-happy (and accurate!) shooter to add to their back court, the Grizzlies add a combo forward who can both rebound and shoot, and the Nets get a second round pick in exchange for a player who doesn’t really fit into their rebuilding plans. (Note: Acy’s contract is non-guaranteed until July 16th, but for such a low price tag, guaranteeing his 2017-18 salary seems like the right move.) There are certainly many other iterations of this type of deal; the above is just an example. Here is one more possibility that may not require the Pels to send anything out at all:

The Grizzlies add length in Vonleh to replace the possible departure of JaMychal Green, while the Blazers shed salary without having to take back any in return, a priority for them with so much guaranteed money on their books over the next few years. The Pelicans could send out a second round pick if necessary, but it might not be.

Thoughts on the proposed deal (or any other ways of using that Hield TPE)? Let us know on Twitter at @BourbonStShots!

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