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NBA Adjusted Multiple Trade Rules in July

Salary cap guru Eric Pincus breaks down and explains the NBA’s latest rule changes regarding trades.

Eric Pincus

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Declaring this season “now or never” for Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers in his recent article, ESPN’s Zach Lowe included an interesting aside.

“The league quietly tweaked trade rules over the summer so that teams could simultaneously owe two picks with ‘two years after’ language attached. In the past, a team could owe only one such pick,” Lowe wrote.

The Clippers currently owe their 2017 first-rounder to the Toronto Raptors but the pick is lottery protected through 2019, after which it converts to a pair of second-rounders in 2020 and 2021.

Los Angeles also owes the Boston Celtics a first, but under the Stepien rule, cannot trade future firsts in consecutive years. Therefore the pick won’t go to the Celtics until two drafts following the obligation to the Raptors is met.

Per Lowe’s report, the Clippers can also deal their 2021 first with a similar two-years after protection, which wouldn’t have been allowed prior to this summer.

Basketball Insiders obtained the memo that was sent out to teams, indicating rule changes effective this past July 7.

In addition to the two-years-after change, the NBA adjusted both the seven-year rule and the ability for teams to trade another team’s pick with protections.

Seven-Year Rule

The seven-year rule prohibits teams from dealing future picks beyond the next seven drafts following the trade.

The adjustment made allows franchises to add protection to that final year, which was previously off limits. For instance, a team can now structure a deal to convert the first-round obligation to a second-rounder in the seventh year based on protections met in that final season.

In the past, a team could protect a first-rounder through the sixth year.

Sticking with the Clippers, if the team dealt its 2021 first, it could be lottery protected through 2023, converting to a 2023 second if the team is in the top-14 for each of those three years (also subject to the two-year after rule in relation to the Boston trade).

Under the previous rule, the Clippers would be able to protect their 2021 pick through 2022, after which it could convert to a 2023 second-rounder.

Regardless, the seven-year limit remains in force. It’s the timing of potential protections that has changed.

Protecting Another Team’s Pick

Before July 7, teams were unable to trade away another team’s pick with protections. That rule has changed but only if that pick was previously acquired unconditionally.

For example, the Cleveland Cavaliers will get the Minnesota Timberwolves second-rounder in 2019, unprotected.

Now, the Cavaliers can trade that pick away to another team, with say a top-55 protection. Or Cleveland can send it to two different teams — to one if it’s in the 31-45 range, the other if it’s 46-60.

In the past, none of the above was legal.

The Cavs will also get a second-rounder in 2020 from the Portland Trail Blazers, provided it’s in the 56-60 range. Cleveland can trade that pick away outright to another team but not with additional protections under the rule adjustment since they don’t own it unconditionally.

The change also applies to first-rounders. Teams can use the standard protections, including converting the obligation to a second-rounder if certain conditions are met.

Another item in the NBA’s July memo set the payment schedule for money owed to traded players by their prior team. Franchises are obligated to pay the player their salary through the day of a trade. The incoming team is responsible for compensating the player for the first day following the deal. If, however, the player suits up on the actual day of the trade, the new team is responsible for the salary starting on that same day.

The memo sets a default payment schedule, for any money owed by the team trading the player away, to four equal payments on the last days of December, March, June and September, provided the player is dealt on or before December 15.

If dealt between December 15 and the trade deadline, the obligations are paid in three equal payments on the last days of March, June and September.

This last item is a change to the NBA’s by-laws, while the previous adjustments apply to the league’s operations manual.

Understanding the Quincy Acy D-League Trade

On Monday, the Los Angeles D-Fenders made what seemed like a strange trade, claiming Quincy Acy off waivers and then immediately trading him to the Texas Legends.

The rules of the NBA Development League differ significantly from the NBA, where the notion of claiming and immediately trading a player is a non-starter.

In the NBA, if a player is claimed off waivers during the season, they cannot be dealt for 30 days. If they’re claimed over the summer, the trade restriction lasts until 30 days into the following season.

That same restriction doesn’t exist in the D-League.

With their point-guard core decimated with injury, the Dallas Mavericks cut Acy on November 17, despite his $1.1 million guaranteed contract, to make room for Jonathan Gibson.

Acy entered the D-League’s free agent pool, where he then became available for a waiver claim. The D-Fenders had top priority to make a claim, but were set to lose that position to the Erie BayHawks and Long Island Nets.

When Development League teams have a player called up to the NBA, they jump to the top of the waiver priority list. The BayHawks lost Anthony Brown, the top overall pick in the D-League draft, to the New Orleans Pelicans. The Nets lost Yogi Ferrell to their parent franchise, the Brooklyn Nets.

Per General Manager Nick Mazzella, who spoke to Basketball Insiders about the trade, the D-Fenders (7-2) were pleased with their roster, anticipating the return of former Los Angeles Clippers forward (and D-League center) Jeff Ayres, who rejoined the team on Thursday.

The D-Fenders essentially traded their waiver priority, before they dropped down to third, picking up Acy on behalf of the Mavericks’ affiliate franchise.

In return, the D-Fenders added on a 2017 first-rounder, along with the rights to small forward Jamil Wilson. Wilson played with the Lakers’ summer league squad but is currently playing for Auxilium Torino in Italy. Los Angeles also gave up a 2017 third-rounder in the deal.

Now, the D-Fenders will have two first-round picks in next year’s draft but if they lose a key player to a call-up or buyout during the current campaign, they can use one of those picks as a trade asset.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks have reestablished ties to Acy, who helped the Legends to a 110-107 win on Friday over the Oklahoma City Blue.

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Dejounte Murray: The Spurs’ Latest Steal

The Spurs have a history of drafting talented players late in the draft. Dejounte Murray is emerging as their most recent steal, writes David Yapkowitz.

David Yapkowitz

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It seems like almost every NBA season, the San Antonio Spurs end up selecting a player late in the draft who unexpectedly goes on to become a valuable contributor, sometimes even a star. The entire draft in itself can often be a crapshoot, but the lower the pick, the lower the chances of a team finding a solid rotation player. But with the Spurs, it’s as if they hit far more often than they miss.

Their pick from a year ago is shaping up to be no exception as the injury to starting point guard Tony Parker has opened up a huge opportunity for Dejounte Murray; one that he is taking advantage of.

There is a lot of preparation by analysts leading up to the NBA draft. Several mock drafts are created up until draft night itself. Murray was often projected to be a high first-round pick, possibly even a lottery pick. He had a solid freshman season at the University of Washington where he averaged 16.1 points per game, six rebounds, and 4.4 assists.

Draft night arrived and he ended up slipping to the bottom of the first round (29th overall), far later than he had anticipated. Following his selection, LeBron James himself, who is represented by the same sports agency as Murray, tweeted out some words of encouragement for the young rookie. He let Murray know that he may not have been drafted where he wanted to, but that he was with the best organization in the league.

Murray pretty much rode the bench last season as a rookie, which is not at all uncommon for a first-year player on a veteran team with championship aspirations. He was inactive for most of the final two months of the season. In the first round of the playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies, and most of the second round against the Houston Rockets, he was relegated to garbage time duty. Perhaps if he’d been drafted as high as initially projected, he might have had a bigger opportunity at getting minutes right away.

That all changed, however, against Houston in Game 2 when Parker went down with the injury that he is still recuperating from. Murray was thrust into the starting lineup and he responded as well as an inexperienced rookie under the bright lights of the playoffs could. In Game 4, although the Spurs lost, he had eight points on 50 percent shooting along with three assists. He actually didn’t play in Game 5, but in the Spurs closeout Game 6 win, he poured in 11 points, ten rebounds, five assists and two steals while shooting 50 percent from the field.

Even though the Spurs were ultimately swept in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, Murray continued his steady play with 8.3 points, 3.8 assists, and three steals.

At the start of this season, Murray has taken his momentum from the end of last season and carried it over. He was given the starting point guard spot in place of Parker on opening night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He responded on national television with 16 points on 7-8 shooting from the field, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.

It’s still too early to tell, but it’s highly possible that the Spurs have found their starting point guard of the future once Parker eventually decides to hang it up. At 6-foot-5, Murray is a tall point guard and his length gives him the potential to develop into an elite defensive player. He can score the basketball and he is improving his court vision and playmaking.

One area he could improve in is his outside shooting. Although he did shoot 39.1 percent from the three-point line last season, he only took 0.6 attempts. In his lone college season, he shot 28.8 percent from downtown. If he can improve his range and really begin to put together his entire package of skills, we’ll be talking yet again about how the Spurs bamboozled the rest of the league and found a draft-day gem.

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NBA Saturday: Jabari Bird Experiences The NBA Whirlwind

Jabari Bird entered a hostile environment Friday night after being on his couch just three days before.

Dennis Chambers

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When Gordon Hayward suffered a season-ending injury six minutes into the Boston Celtics’ season on Wednesday, he wasn’t the only player who saw his season changed in the blink of an eye.

“I was at home in California watching the game as a fan,” Jabari Bird said.

Bird was the 56th overall pick in last June’s NBA Draft. After playing his college ball at the University of California, the Celtics gave the 6-foot-6 swingman a shot to continue his career. After impressing throughout the preseason, Bird was signed to a two-way contract with Boston and returned home to the west coast.

That didn’t last long.

“After the game was over my phone was going off that I had to get on the quickest flight to Boston,” Bird said about opening night. “Got in 7:30 the next morning, suited up against Milwaukee, now I’m here in Philly.”

With the massive hole Hayward left in Boston’s roster due to his injury, the Celtics are going to have to turn to some unlikely performers throughout the season to pick up the slack. Bird didn’t light up the scoreboard or stuff his stat sheet, posting just three points and one rebound in 13 minutes of play. But down the stretch in a close game against the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night, Bird came up big on defense.

As the Celtics trailed the Sixers 61-53 with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, Bird subbed in for Jaylen Brown and was tasked with guarding J.J. Redick, who was in the midst of carrying Philadelphia with his lights out shooting.

After wiping away the Sixers lead and gaining an 86-84 advantage in the fourth quarter, the Celtics still had Bird sticking Redick. The Sixers’ shooting guard — and highest paid player — rose up for another three-point attempt which would’ve given Philadelphia a late lead and a momentum shift at home with a raucous crowd behind them. Only this time, Bird’s hand was in his face and the shot attempt didn’t find the back of the net.

In a big-time moment on the road, for a team facing a potential three-game losing streak to start the season, the unlikely rookie answered the call.

“Like I said before, he’s one of the best shooters in the NBA, really good perimeter scorer,” Bird said of Redick. “For the team to trust me with that responsibility, with us being down on the road needing to get a win, I was hyped up and ready to go. I was ready for the challenge.”

Placing such a responsibility like guarding Redick on a night where it seemed like the Sixers marksman couldn’t miss on a player who was sitting on his couch three nights ago seems like a bold strategy. Head coach Brad Stevens, however, knew what he was doing.

“All the way through preseason and training camp I felt like he was one of our better perimeter defenders,” Stevens said. “I think he has huge upside. His rebounding spoke for itself in preseason practices. His ability to guard off the ball, especially shooters coming off screens is just really good. He’s not afraid, and you knew he’d step up.”

Going from the couch to a red-eye flight from California to Boston, to the bench in Milwaukee, to the court in Philadelphia is nothing short of a whirlwind experience. With such a series of events, it’s hard to be coached into that moment. As a player, sometimes you have to just go out and play.

“I wasn’t prepared at all for tonight. Mentally I just had to lock into the game,” Bird said. “Coach just looked at me and said ‘Bird get Jaylen.’ ‘Alright.’ So that’s what I did.”

After signing Hayward to $127 million contract this summer, the Celtics were expecting the small forward to provide an elite scoring 1-2 scoring punch with Kyrie Irving. Obviously, at least for this season, Boston will need to move forward without that possibility. An opening night loss, followed by another defeat to Milwaukee the following night, had the Celtics 0-2 heading into Philadelphia and searching for answers a lot sooner than they may have anticipated just a week ago.

Bird’s journey during his first week in professional basketball represents how quickly things can change, and how the ripple effects of injuries and other moves have far outreaching waves.

“I was already packed, I was ready to go to the G-League,” Bird said. “We had training camp coming up. My bags were already packed, I was ready to get out the house. Then I got the call to go to Boston and I was like alright I’m ready to go, just gimmie a flight. And that’s what happened.”

All-star point guard, and Bird’s new teammate, Kyrie Irving doesn’t foresee the rookie leaving the clubhouse anytime soon. With the adversity the Boston Celtics have felt in the first week of the 2017-18 season, Bird’s addition and impact are a prime example of being ready when your number is called, and the culture this team is looking to create.

“Jabari is now probably gonna be on every trip with us,” Irving said. “Guys are gonna be called up and called upon to be ready to play. We just have to have that expectation that when we come into the game we’re gonna be able to play, and we trust one another and have each other’s backs.”

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Mavs Guard Devin Harris on Personal Leave from Team

Basketball Insiders

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Guard Devin Harris will take an indefinite leave from the Dallas Mavericks after the tragic death of his brother, Bruce.

“I was with him yesterday and just encouraged him that when he’s ready to come on back,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I don’t know when that will be. He can take as long as he needs.”

Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN

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