Kevin Pelton breaks down the financials
of an incredibly savvy deal orchestrated by "Oklahoma City's" Sam Presti
Essentially, this is a win-win deal made possible by the two teams’ contrasting positions relative to the cap. For Utah, this is the culmination of a process the Portland Trail Blazers helped set in motion by extending an offer sheet to Millsap and forcing the Jazz to pay him market value despite the luxury-tax ramifications. As a result, Utah has to forfeit a useful young player and downgrades slightly in the short term from Maynor to Ronnie Price. In Oklahoma City’s case, this is the latest example of Presti using the team’s salary flexibility to add assets. Maynor has been a capable backup point guard for Utah as a rookie and gives the Thunder a long-term answer at the position behind starter Russell Westbrook. In Maynor’s limited minutes, his assist ratio is sixth in the league, trailing a group of the NBA’s best point guards (Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, former teammate Deron Williams and Jason Kidd).
Perhaps most fascinating about this deal, as Pelton also mentions, is that "Oklahoma City" can now flip Matt Harpring's insurance-covered contract prior to the trade deadline. In other words, Presti finds himself in a position similar to the one that faced Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard last season. He has two choices:
1. Retain the expiring contract and cash the insurance checks, then enter the summer with cap space intact.
2. Flip Harpring's insurance-covered expiring contract (alone or in a package) to a team that is struggling financially or looking to dump salary and/or create salary cap flexibility.
So while grifting Eric Maynor is today's headline, "Oklahoma City" might also have just put itself in the trade deadline driver's seat.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter
PS Thanks to MaveTheGreat
in the fanshots