The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to turn Brendan Haywood into a massive trade exception, and will be using either the Portland Trail Blazers or the Philadelphia 76ers in order to make that deal happen.
Haywood will turn 36 a month into the 2015-2016 season. He is owed $10.5 million for the campaign but that money is guaranteed if he’s released before August 1, which the Cavaliers, or any team that acquires him will do.
At first there were thoughts of trying to turn him into another player to fit on this loaded roster, but for now, the Cavaliers plan to use cutting his salary into a trade exception, giving them insurance for an injury, just like they did when Anderson Varejao ended another season prematurely, allowing them to make a deal for Timofey Mozgov and also add J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.
The 76ers live for these deals, because there’s a very good chance Sam Hinkie is going to try and flip Haywood for yet another second round pick, which he’ll use to trade with the Cavaliers, The Trail Blazers, suddenly in something of rebuilding mode around Damian Lillard, are going to try and do the same thing. If no one trades with them, both teams will waive Haywood before July ends.
The Cavaliers, with or without Haywood, are heading into uncharted territory in terms of luxury tax. Timofey Mozgov stays on a team option, Tristan Thompson will be re-signed on around $15 million a season, LeBron James re-signed and so did Kevin Love, Iman Shumpert and James Jones. The Cavaliers added Mo Williams and Richard Jefferson, and will probably end up bringing back J.R. Smith and even Matthew Dellavedova.
This results in $108.4 million in salary, and just under $60 million in tax. If the Cavaliers trade during the season for a $5 million player, that turns into a $20 million bill for them including the massive tax they’re paying.
Haywood missed the entire 2013-2014 season, and hardly played last year for the Cavs, appearing in 22 games, averaging 1.6 points in 5.4 minutes a night.