Making Sense of the Tyshawn Taylor Trade

Maddie Meyer

Did Dell Demps Forget About Pierre Jackson?

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pelicans have agreed to trade a conditional future draft pick to the Nets for Tyshawn Taylor and cash. It is rumored that the draft pick entails a protected second rounder (thus it may never materialize) and the cash represents not only his salary for the rest of the season, but something greater, as an incentive to take him off the Nets hands.

In the 2012 NBA draft, Taylor was selected 41st by the Portland Trail Blazers, but almost immediately, he was traded to the New Jersey Nets. Thus far in his young NBA career, he has not done anything of note. In fact, amid all of Brooklyn's injuries this year, he was unable to prove deserving of a consistent role, even as a reserve.

As such, many of you are probably wondering, why did Dell Demps choose to trade for an iffy point guard when he has Pierre Jackson tearing up the D-League? Especially after perhaps reading the following excerpt from a recent article on Nola.com about how the Pelicans are overloaded at his position?

Q: How much thought has been given to calling up (NBA D-League leading scorer) Pierre Jackson?

A: "We made an agreement before the draft that if we drafted him he'd be one to go overseas for a year because of our (depth at guard) and next summer we would come back and re-evaluate if it was going to be a good fit or not.

"We did that for a number of reasons: one, because it is an overloaded position; and two, we do not have a draft pick this coming up year, so we are thinking of him as our draft pick for 2014.

"When he went overseas, things didn't work out and he ended up coming back, then he went to the D-League. He's playing exceptionally well. Obviously when a player is playing well he wants to expedite that process. But we are still not ready to do that.

"Obviously, we don't want to hold the kid back. We have been working with his representatives to try to find a win-win solution for everybody. For us, our original plan for him was to evaluate the situation next summer. Unless something drastic changes, we want to keep the same plan. But we are open if something else comes along that makes sense."

Well, the simplest answer is because it's not about this season. There is no doubt that Pierre Jackson is likely the more enviable player due to the potential he has shown playing for the Idaho Stampede. However, none of this matters as the Pelicans front office views Jackson as more valuable than just a warm body.

In fact, there is a possibility that the Taylor deal has absolutely nothing to do with adding another guard to the roster, but rather, the Pelicans receiving the incentive of mere cash (hey, does everyone remember this?) while the Nets avoiding a bit of their tax penalty. However, for the purposes of covering all the angles of trading for Taylor/not signing Jackson, we'll continue.

As Demps stated above, the Pelicans compare Jackson to something more akin to a future draft pick. By signing him now, it would start his "clock" earlier than necessary. This season is going nowhere fast plus the Pelicans already have two players at the same position on the roster under evaluation in Brian Roberts and Austin Rivers. By throwing Jackson into the mix, the team would effectively waste a year of a cheap contract, while muddling further the values of all of these guards as they would now all be in direct competition with one another.

Moreover, what kind of contract should Dell Demps offer Jackson? According to the collective bargaining agreement, teams can sign a 2nd round pick for up to four years, much like a 1st rounder. However, as to where a 1st round pick has a set salary slot, nothing of the sort exists with 2nd rounders. Consequently, a team can make out like a bandit and sign the next Chandler Parsons.

But -- here is the tricky part -- when teams are over the cap, which the Pelicans are, they must adhere to this:

And teams that are over the salary cap have fewer options in dealing with second-rounders. Such teams can sign an unlimited number of players, including second-rounders, to the league’s minimum salary, but only to one- or two-year deals. If they want to extend into three- or four-year contracts, they must dip into the midlevel exception — a key building block they might want to keep open for a veteran free agent.

Is it economically advantageous to sign Jackson to a long-term deal? Or will he disappoint like many a 2nd rounder and thus, should not receive anything longer than two years, so as to avoid handicapping the team's salary cap down the road?

Over 3 years ago, the Chicago Bulls signed Omer Asik to a 2-year deal when they had the cap room to extend the duration of it. Well, we all know they came to fully regret that decision as history has taught that he, Landry Fields and several others should have received longer rookie deals. For instance, it would have allowed Chicago to enjoy the services of a valuable, yet cheap contract, for several more seasons.

For what it's worth, both Darius Miller and Jeff Withey were signed to 2-year contracts, despite the Pelicans not using any part of their midlevel exception. Only time will tell whether Demps made the prudent choice regarding these decisions, but with Jackson, he has ability to wait and gather more information in hopes of making the right choice.

So, although on the surface the Taylor signing appears to make little sense, it proves Demps does understand the bigger picture. He is saving money in the long term by electing to keep Jackson's rights over signing him to an NBA contract now. Further, he is still appraising Jackson's potential so that he avoids an Asik-sized pitfall.

In Demps We Trust.

UPDATE: According to reports today, the Pelicans have traded the rights to Edin Bavcic, not some future conditional pick to the Nets.

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