The Brooklyn Nets have less than three hours to make a trade until the league’s 3 P.M. deadline (though teams negotiating at that point are allowed to continue discussions). Though they’ve already acquired Marcus Thornton from the Sacramento Kings, another deal might follow.
The Nets have reportedly been in pursuit of 26-year-old Los Angeles Lakers forward Jordan Hill, who didn’t fit into coach Mike D’Antoni’s plans when D’Antoni was his coach as a rookie with the New York Knicks, and doesn’t fit into his plans in Los Angeles.
David Aldridge reported at 1:40 that the Nets “may pass” on Jordan Hill:
Nets may pass on Jordan Hill, per league source. Momentum has cooled significantly to get deal done.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 20, 2014
Peter Vecsey reported shortly thereafter that the Nets have “passed” on Jordan Hill, and are now looking elsewhere:
This just in: Nets have passed on Jordan Hill. Looking elsewhere for possible frontcourt help
— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) February 20, 2014
It’s possible that the report is just a smokescreen to grease the wheels in Los Angeles. If they think the Nets are pulling away and are running out of suitors, they may include a pick to entice the deal.
The Nets can trade for Hill without sending any salary back thanks to the Disabled Player Exception granted to them by the NBA, meaning they could either send draft picks, minimum-salary players, or nothing at all. But adding Hill comes at a cost: the league’s new punitive luxury tax system means that the Nets would pay an additional $17 million on top of Hill’s salary in luxury tax payments.
The Nets have competition to acquire Hill, but it appears to be dwindling:
- The Cleveland Cavaliers were reportedly in the mix for Hill, but traded for seven-footer Spencer Hawes this morning, so they’re likely out of the running to add another big man.
- The New Orleans Pelicans were in the mix, but have since backed off.
- Ditto for the Hawks. Like Brooklyn, both New Orleans and Atlanta have a Disabled Player Exception that they could swallow Hill’s contract into.
The Lakers are reportedly looking for a second-round pick in exchange for Hill, which the Nets can’t provide until 2016. They do have three second-round picks stashed overseas: Ilkan Karaman, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Edin Bavcic. Bavcic and Karaman are unlikely to play in the NBA, while the blue-chipper Bogdanovic would be a steep price to pay.
Nets general manager Billy King told Grantland recently that he’d like to re-stock his team’s draft picks after sending away nearly all of them for the next four years. But according to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Lakers want one instead:
Quite a dance playing out on Jordan Hill front. Lakers want pick for Hill. But I'm told Nets want pick from Lakers for saving them $7+ mil
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 20, 2014
Another slightly sneakier financial reason the Lakers would want to deal Hill specifically to the Nets: If the Lakers deal Hill, they’ll get to less than $2 million above the luxury tax threshhold, meaning that another small cap-saving deal would put them under. If they’re under, they get a cut of the pool of money that taxpaying teams have to pay. If they send Hill to Brooklyn, that means an extra $17 million in the pool… which the Lakers would then conceivably get a piece of.
UPDATE: Sean Deveney of Sporting News reports that the Lakers want a first-round pick for Hill, something the Nets can’t (and won’t) offer. If the Lakers can’t find a suitor to give them a first-round pick, they’ll return to trade talks with the Nets.
It’s hard to imagine any team giving up a first-rounder to give the Lakers salary relief, so I’d expect talks to resume between the Nets and Lakers before the 3 P.M. deadline.