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New Orleans' Trade Exceptions


Monty Williams speaking at Dell Demps' press conference yesterday:

"There are some creative ways- I’ll use Dell’s words- we can come up with a number of trades that can help this team."

"I think you need more shooting. Going into the year with Marcus as our only 2 guard, we’re certainly going to have to shore up that spot. Nobody is the starting 2 guard for this team. That spot is up for grabs right now, and guys are going to have to work to get that spot. We definitely need somebody on our roster to step up and take that spot. And there may be a creative trade to fill that void."

All summer, we've seen NBA writers (and Fletcher Mackel) pump out trade rumor after trade rumor, regarding the Hornets. It's been open season on the entire roster- Chris Paul, David West, Emeka Okafor, etc, down to the little guys like Aaron Gray. One aspect that hasn't been explored much is the use of trade exceptions. 



Put simply, a trade exception is a sort of credit a team receives through an imbalanced trade. These exceptions generally expire a year after their acquisition. For the purposes of future trades, they serve essentially as player salaries. In a recent example, Al Jefferson was moved to Utah for a $13 million trade exception (and no actual players). 


A look at our current exceptions, when they were acquired, and when they expire:

Exception Size

Acquired Through



Rasual Butler to LAC

Aug. 12th, ‘10


Hilton Armstrong to SAC

Feb. 18th, ‘11


Antonio Daniels to MIN

Oct. 23rd, ‘10


Devin Brown to CHI

Jan. 25th, ‘11


Tyson Chandler to CHA

Aug. 1st, ‘10


Bobby Brown to LAC

Jan. 26th, ‘11

Total: $11,666,690



Essentially, New Orleans could have made their own offer for Al Jefferson (exceptions + Songaila), if they'd been willing to pay the luxury tax. I don't mean that as an indictment (ownership still too much of a mess) but more as an indicator of how valuable trade exceptions can be. If the Chouest takeover had come to fruition when we thought it would, who knows. Wrong. Thanks berlinhornets.

Either way, the biggest of those exceptions expires in around two weeks. The Hornets can still make a run at a player another team has given up on. The key, of course, is "player that's been given up on." Denver is not dumping Carmelo Anthony's $17 million a year if New Orleans had a big enough exception, Songaila, and Julian Wright, nor is Indiana tossing away Danny Granger's $11 million a year for $11 million in exceptions. The Hornets would have to target teams that are looking for financial flexibility and the opportunity to rebuild. That said, there are options out there. Let's hope exceptions are the "creative ways" Demps and Williams refer to because, used properly, they can be powerful.