Was not expecting a Bulls trade this morning, but it’s purely a financial move so that makes a lot more sense.
The headline of ‘Bulls trade 2nd round pick to Rockets for Michael Carter-Williams’ is upsetting, especially given that it’s apparently new Bulls doctrine to not shoot three-pointers, but MCW is not suiting up for the Bulls (again), fear not!
This is just a way for the Bulls to get some sweet sweet cash.
Here’s why the Rockets are doing it, as anticipated by amateur cap-ologist and Rockets fan David Weiner a couple days ago, and I have no doubt that Daryl Morey had to spell this out exactly to Gar Forman (Paxson isn’t a ‘details’ kinda guy):
I expect some sort of roster move by the Rockets before end of day on January 7. That’s the deadline to waive Michael Carter-Williams before his deal ($1.2M) becomes fully guaranteed.
Houston can save on salary/tax by trading MCW. Less savings if they waive him. By 1/7, they’ll have paid most of his guarantee amount. By trading him plus cash (in excess of amount remaining on his guarantee) to a team well below the tax threshold, it could save HOU somewhere around $2M.
The receiving team could then immediately waive him (if by end of day on 1/7) and net a nice little profit.
[Jery Reinsdrf BRST in: “did someone say profit?!?!”]
For the Bulls to make this deal they had to do a couple things. One was waiving MarShon Brooks, who was just acquired last week in the Justin Holiday trade. Then they had to send something, anything to the Rockets for it to be a legal trade. So they sent a 2nd-round pick, but it’s reportedly so highly protected it’ll never convey. For optics alone they should’ve instead dealt the rights to, uh, Tadija Dragicevic.