Greg Stiemsma, Melvin Ely, and Trade Chips

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Stockpiling assets is the name of the game when you're not in the playoff picture

As Rohan noted yesterday, the timing of waiving Greg Stiemsma and signing Melvin Ely was a bit odd. With just two games to go, why waive a player regardless of his effectiveness just to sign a 10+ year vet of the NBA and most recently, the D-League? Thanks to the genius of Mark Deeks (you might know him as the editor of ShamSports or for his contributions to SBNation NBA writing) we have an answer.

The minimum salary contract for a 10-plus-year veteran next season is $1,448,490. Cleveland could have signed a nine-plus-year veteran to a minimum salary contract for the final few days of the season, just as the Knicks did with Gadzuric, and had that same $1.45 million unguaranteed next summer. Had they signed that someone yesterday instead of Hopson, they would have had to pay them only the prorated minimum salary for the remainder of the season instead of the $1.3 million they gave to Hopson. The Score

What initially appeared to be a callous move to waive Stiemsma is instead Dell Demps just trying to add one more tool to his tool box this summer. One more trade chip he could use. Ely's second year as a 10 year vet is the above $1,448,490. We can then take this information to the CBA FAQ and find that Ely's contract alone can bring back $2,172,735, or 150% of his salary.

I had questioned why the Pelicans did not submit a waiver claim on Greg Smith who just signed with the Bulls.  But roster spots are finite, specifically the number is 15. The Pelicans received an extra roster spot thanks to the Disabled Player Exception they were issued for Ryan Anderson. However, all 16 slots were occupied. The only way to facilitate the signing of Melvin Ely (and gain what amounts to a $2.1M trade exception this summer) was to waive a player.

Was Greg Stiemsma injured? We probably never know. But was he the most expendable player at the time considering injuries and the availability of Melvin Ely? That is much more likely.

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