One More Move Up The King’s Sleeve?

With the big trade official, and the Nets signing Kirilenko, it would appear the Nets’ makeover is done. But then again, it appeared that Billy King was “locked in” to his roster, so nothing is what it seems. And, there is one trade piece left: DJ White. The Nets have until August 1 to cut White, or guarantee his salary. As has been reported, guaranteeing White’s deal would cost the Nets millions in taxes for White to remain glued to the bench.

Which leads to an interesting possibility: perhaps the Nets are exploring the market for White. With the severity of the luxury tax, most teams are desperate to avoid it, and will look to dump whatever money they can to avoid the tax. Being over the tax requires paying the tax, while being under the tax makes a team a recipient of tax distributions: the chance to cut minor payroll to save that kind of money is too good to pass up.

With White’s nonguaranteed contract of $1,027,424 teams acquiring him in a trade could save that amount in payroll in their tax avoidance efforts, by trading for White before August 1 and waiving him on arrival. Perhaps this will open up some of the following options for the Nets.

1) DJ White to the Pacers for Orlando Johnson: Johnson is a talented shooting guard, who some critics felt should have been in the Pacers’ rotation ahead of Gerald Green last year. Larry Bird has stated that his Pacers will not venture into the luxury tax “for any reason,” and Johnson is buried on the Pacers bench. The Nets, if they have any need, is at the 2 behind Joe Johnson, and Orlando Johnson may help provide that.

2) White to the Lakers for Jodie Meeks: With Nick Young and Wesley Johnson in the fold, minutes may be scarce for Meeks in LA next season. LA, as has been well chronicled, plans to spend big in the summer of 2014, and may hope to avoid this year’s tax with a middling roster in place, despite their huge contract with Time Warner. Meeks would backup Johnson and Jason Terry, and provide spot up shooting in Brooklyn. LA could then save $1.55 million in payroll, getting closer to the tax line, by waiving White on arrival.

This is just a couple of the options at the Nets disposal. In reality, they are limited, and likely will just waive White before August 1. Notably, the Nets cannot trade White in conjunction with another player for 60 days. With Deron, Joe, Pierce, Garnett, Lopez, Kirilenko, Terry, Blatche, and Livingston locked in for now, the Nets cannot do much on the trade market. The Nets also cannot deal their 2015 or 2017 picks because of the Stepien Rule. They could conceivably deal Plumlee, Evans, Mirza, Taylor, or Toko, but likely would not net much back.

So what you see, is probably what you will get. Which is awesome.

It’s just worth nothing that King Billy leaves no stone unturned.


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