Author Topic: Can you add Davis without giving up Horford and not be killed by the luxury tax?  (Read 2125 times)

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Offline Ed Hollison

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Serious question for those who are good on the salary cap and the CBA:

Say we trade for Anthony Davis in the offseason, without giving up Al Horford. Technically speaking this is not hard. You could package a few players together, and you also include in the package Marcus Smart or whoever we might sign this year with the DPE as sign-and-trades. (Right?)

The question is, Are the Celtics in major luxury tax hell in that scenario? Davis is signed through 2019-20 with a player option for 2020-21. Same with Gordon Hayward. Horford and Irving's contracts are one year shorter, but Horford would almost definitely accept his player option for 2019-20 ($30.1m) and you'd presumably be willing to give Irving a massive new contract starting that year after he (almost certainly) opts out.

Is there any conceivable way this works from a luxury tax perspective? I suppose you could take massive tax hits in 2018-19 and 2019-20, and after that Horford's salary comes off the books. But is that enough?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can share an informed opinion on this.
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No, not really.  Having four max contracts pretty much condemns you to a very heavy luxury tax bill.

The bigger obstacle that the Marcus S&T for Davis ignores is that if the Pelicans keep Cousins, they will also be in a luxury tax bind, and will not be able to make a trade featuring Smart work.
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Offline Moranis

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No, not really.  Having four max contracts pretty much condemns you to a very heavy luxury tax bill.

The bigger obstacle that the Marcus S&T for Davis ignores is that if the Pelicans keep Cousins, they will also be in a luxury tax bind, and will not be able to make a trade featuring Smart work.
Don't really need Smart to make the trade.  Brown/Tatum, LAL, and Morris could be enough salary depending on the LAL value, but either way some lesser filler and the amount is met.  Throw in another future 1st and that is pretty solid value all the way around.  That only works though if the LAL pick conveys and then you wait the 30 days to trade the player including his salary.

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No, not really.  Having four max contracts pretty much condemns you to a very heavy luxury tax bill.

The bigger obstacle that the Marcus S&T for Davis ignores is that if the Pelicans keep Cousins, they will also be in a luxury tax bind, and will not be able to make a trade featuring Smart work.
Don't really need Smart to make the trade.  Brown/Tatum, LAL, and Morris could be enough salary depending on the LAL value, but either way some lesser filler and the amount is met.  Throw in another future 1st and that is pretty solid value all the way around.  That only works though if the LAL pick conveys and then you wait the 30 days to trade the player including his salary.

The OP mentioned Smart.  I was just responding to it.
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Offline ETNCeltics

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Trading Tatum would be a bitter pill for me to swallow, I don't care who we got in return.

Offline Moranis

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No, not really.  Having four max contracts pretty much condemns you to a very heavy luxury tax bill.

The bigger obstacle that the Marcus S&T for Davis ignores is that if the Pelicans keep Cousins, they will also be in a luxury tax bind, and will not be able to make a trade featuring Smart work.
Don't really need Smart to make the trade.  Brown/Tatum, LAL, and Morris could be enough salary depending on the LAL value, but either way some lesser filler and the amount is met.  Throw in another future 1st and that is pretty solid value all the way around.  That only works though if the LAL pick conveys and then you wait the 30 days to trade the player including his salary.

The OP mentioned Smart.  I was just responding to it.
I know.  I was just responding to your response, that Smart doesn't need to be included.

Offline JBcat

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I know it’s not the question but I’d rather include Horford in a trade for Davis for a few reasons. 1) much easier to match up salaries while giving up other lesser assets (similar to IT for Irving).  2) They are too similar in that they do well next to a bruising big like Baynes, and against smaller lineups as a 5. 3) I think Horford will age well but it’s not a given.  Take it year by year but kind of like the Patriot way getting rid of a guy before it’s too late.

Offline Ed Hollison

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No, not really.  Having four max contracts pretty much condemns you to a very heavy luxury tax bill.


I suppose I agree, but I'm not sure it's a dealbreaker in this situation. For instance, could you carry four max contracts in 2018-19 and 2019-20 and pay a large tax bill in those years, after which Horford's contract comes off the books? Or are you still in cap hell after that, given that you'd have to pay up for Brown and or Tatum once their rookie contracts have expired? I honestly don't know.
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Offline Vermont Green

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There always seems to be this argument against trading Horford because then no top FA would ever sign here again.  I am not sure I buy that argument.  I think if we had a chance to get Davis by trading say Horford, Tatum, and a future pick, Danny would do it. 

The problem with that is that NOP would not want Horford (or Morris and Smart for that matter).  NOP should trade Cousins to Cleveland for Thompson and the BKN pick and then declare that they will never trade Davis and put an end to this speculation.  Cleveland is going to suk after LeBron leaves whether they have that pick or not so they might as well go "all in".

It would be a tough pill for NOP to basically concede that trading for Cousins was dumb but at least they get a replacement for their pick.  They end up with Casspi and Tristan Thompson for Heild and Evans but better to cut your losses in my opinion.

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No, not really.  Having four max contracts pretty much condemns you to a very heavy luxury tax bill.


I suppose I agree, but I'm not sure it's a dealbreaker in this situation. For instance, could you carry four max contracts in 2018-19 and 2019-20 and pay a large tax bill in those years, after which Horford's contract comes off the books? Or are you still in cap hell after that, given that you'd have to pay up for Brown and or Tatum once their rookie contracts have expired? I honestly don't know.

Ultimately it depends as to what you’re giving away and what the actual budget it.  If you traded Tatum, the Lakers pick, Morris, and worked some sort of magic with a S&T of someone acquired by the DPE to fill out the salary, you could probably have a payroll of $127 million or so if you also let Smart and Baynes walk and fill the roster with guys at the minimum.  That’ll produce a tax bill of $9 million and is affordable if we accept the premise.  The following year, however, that payroll spikes to between $145-$150 million, with a luxury tax bill that could be another $45 million on top, and that assumes we let Rozier walk in free agency, and fill the roster again with draft picks and minimum contracts.

The following year Jaylen comes due, and while you can maybe resign Horford for less than his prior deal, the salaries are going to end up around the same place, if not a bit more when you take into account the raises built into contracts and Jaylen’s new deal.  The Celtics would be $10-15 million over the luxury tax, which with the repeater tax produces a tax bill again in the $40 million range.

It’s not to say it isn’t worth it, as you’d wind up with a 3-5 year run as the favorite to win a title.  But it would mean the Celtics would have the top payroll in the entire league for multiple seasons, which has not occurred with this ownership group.
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Offline SHAQATTACK

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its just money Wyc

write a check.

 ;D

Offline IDreamCeltics

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No, not really.  Having four max contracts pretty much condemns you to a very heavy luxury tax bill.

The bigger obstacle that the Marcus S&T for Davis ignores is that if the Pelicans keep Cousins, they will also be in a luxury tax bind, and will not be able to make a trade featuring Smart work.
Don't really need Smart to make the trade.  Brown/Tatum, LAL, and Morris could be enough salary depending on the LAL value, but either way some lesser filler and the amount is met.  Throw in another future 1st and that is pretty solid value all the way around.  That only works though if the LAL pick conveys and then you wait the 30 days to trade the player including his salary.

I think you're incorrect.  With Tatum+Morris+Lottery pick, even if that Lottery pick made 6 million per year you'd still need to clear another 7 million in cap space to make way for Davis.


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No, not really.  Having four max contracts pretty much condemns you to a very heavy luxury tax bill.

The bigger obstacle that the Marcus S&T for Davis ignores is that if the Pelicans keep Cousins, they will also be in a luxury tax bind, and will not be able to make a trade featuring Smart work.
Don't really need Smart to make the trade.  Brown/Tatum, LAL, and Morris could be enough salary depending on the LAL value, but either way some lesser filler and the amount is met.  Throw in another future 1st and that is pretty solid value all the way around.  That only works though if the LAL pick conveys and then you wait the 30 days to trade the player including his salary.

I think you're incorrect.  With Tatum+Morris+Lottery pick, even if that Lottery pick made 6 million per year you'd still need to clear another 7 million in cap space to make way for Davis.

You’d need $3-5 million depending where the pick winds up.  The theory is that you sign someone for a lot of money with the DPE and then S&T him to a third team with a draft pick to make up for the rest of the salary (think Keith Bogans).  I find this questionable personally, but as we’re already going down a rabbit hole in which we get AD, it’s reasonable in comparison to other premises.
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Offline Irish Stew

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Once GS signed Durant, is it ever really realistic to enter into an arms race with GS for the NBA title without entering a period of "luxury tax hell"? Otherwise, isn't it like playing with one hand tied behind your back? Isn't it probable that ownership has been informed of this and is resigned to their fate to maintain credibility with its fan base? From NO's point of view, the ultra mature Horford seems like the perfect pairing for the immature Cousins as opposed to a collection of lesser talented younger players to make the money work. That often suggested trade seems reasonable and equally rewarding and painful:

Davis and Asik for Horford, Brown, and LA/SAC pick

I'm not trading Tatum.

Offline Phantom255x

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We're not trading for Davis, period.

Can't do it w/o dealing Horford for salary, which I DO NOT want to do, and Pelicans will understandably ask for two of Lakers Pick/Tatum/Brown, and if that LAL pick lands 2-5, I honestly want to keep it and add ANY of Ayton/Bagley/Doncic/Porter/Bamba to this core + healthy Hayward next season.

Also any Davis deal would definitely also require adding Morris, Rozier and one of Yabusele/Semi to the deal likely, which guts our bench. A Davis trade is just unlikely because it would now require gutting our team and Davis's salary is high now (hard to match). And I'm saying that assuming we DON'T trade Horford. We'd need to add two of Brown/Tatum/Lakers Pick for sure.
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