The Miami Heat completed a pair of trades prior to the 3 p.m. NBA trade deadline, achieving their season-long goal of dropping below the NBA’s $84.74 million luxury tax threshold.
As a result, Heat fans will almost surely not hear the words “repeater tax” again until at least the 2020-21 season.
The Heat were $11.3 million over the luxury tax threshold only July 10th. The path to tax avoidance was long and twisted, and included five trades.
On July 27th, the Heat executed two trades, sending Shabazz Napier and $1.1 million in cash to the Orlando Magic in exchange for a 2016 top-55 protected second-round draft pick, and Zoran Dragic, $1.6 million in cash and its 2020 second-round draft pick to the Boston Celtics in exchange for a 2019 top-55 protected second-round draft pick.
On February 16th, the Heat traded Chris Andersen and two second-round picks (the first is Miami’s 2017 pick if it lands in the top 40 or its 2018 pick if not, and the second is Boston’s 2019 top-55 protected pick acquired in the Dragic trade) in exchange for Brian Roberts.
The Andersen trade was critical, as it set the stage for today’s accomplishment. Pat Riley and the Heat organization knew that trading the injured Andersen’s $5.0 million salary in exchange for nothing in return would be rather difficult. So, at the cost of essentially one second-round draft pick, Miami mitigated the burden for a potential trade partner by swapping his salary for the more palatable $2.9 million salary of the capable veteran backup point guard Roberts, in the process saving $6.2 million even if things didn’t play out as planned. That left the Heat just $3.5 million over the tax threshold.
Earlier today, the Heat traded Jarnell Stokes along with $721,300 in cash to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for a 2018 top-55 protected second-round draft pick. The cash payout is enough to cover the $273,401 remaining balance on Stokes’ $845,059 salary for the season, and net the Pelicans a $447,899 profit.
Later in the day, the Heat traded the newly acquired Roberts and their 2021 second-round draft pick to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for $75,000 in cash. Because the Blazers had a team salary below the salary floor(1), in addition to receiving a second-round pick from Miami, Portland also saved $1.9 million by taking on the $924,657 remaining to be paid on Roberts’ $2.9 million salary.
In accomplishing their goal, the Heat utilized their full $3.4 million allotment of cash for the 2015-16 season, but traded away just one rotation player (Chalmers, and they received back a rotation player in Udrih in return) and three of their second-round draft picks. Miami has now dealt away every first and second round pick available for trade through the 2021 draft.
The result? The Heat are now $218,000 below the luxury tax threshold. Read more…