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New York Knicks center David Lee (AP Photo/John Raoux)

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New York Knicks center David Lee (AP Photo/John Raoux)

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Don't get your hopes up for David Lee in a Suns uniform.

With Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade committing to Miami today, and LBJ leaning back to Cleveland (I mean, can you imagine the horror of not only leaving his home town but rubbing it in their faces via an hour-long nationally televised announcement?!?!?), there are a number of teams left holding the money bag.

Chicago spent a year clearing cap space for this summer (Hinrich, Salmons, Tyrus Thomas, etc.) and now has 30 mil in a briefcase ready to spend.  NJ Nets have a new billionaire owner and 30 mil to spend.  NY Knicks still have 20 mil or so to spend.  Minnesota has been courting Lee, as well. Hell, if Cleveland DOES lose LeBron (likely second choice being Miami with Wade and Bosh), then throw them in the mix, too.

David Lee and Carlos Boozer are the next best free agents left.

And they are salivating. They can smell the fear and desperation in the air. They can smell the money about to be laid at their feet.

Why would Lee's agent drop out early, and take less money to sign-and-trade with the Suns tomorrow?

Over the course of the past eight years, Amare Stoudemire has brought Phoenix Suns fans the highest highs and the lowest lows. From his monster 2005 series against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio...

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The Phoenix Suns to a man made it no secret that they wanted to bring the whole crew back and try to better their 2009-10 run to the conference finals. That of course won’t happen, but when...

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My first real "story"!  

Right onto the front page! YESSSSS! I can't wait to abuse this power... bwahhahahahahaha!

Ahem. 'scuse me. I digress.

Back to basketball talk.

I suggested earlier that the Suns could use a potential trade exception from Amare next summer IN ADDITION to cap space we would gain from Jason Richardson's and Grant Hill's expiring contracts, giving the Suns the ability to add 2 max-type players next spring or summer with those assets.

This is untrue.

At least, after next February's trading deadline. After then, they only have JRich OR the trade exception.

If the Suns get a trade exception (or traded player exception, or TPE) from the Knicks for Amare, that exception is ONLY usable while the Suns are over the salary cap. The Suns are currently considered "over the cap" as long as they hold Amare's Bird Rights. In that case, the Suns would only be allowed to sign new players via exceptions. Frye would be signed using the MLE. Warrick must come in under the trade exception (a portion of it).

Hence the confusion, in the first part. Suns would have to talk the Bulls into executing a sign-and-trade with Hakim Warrick to the Suns, probably giving them a future second-round pick for their trouble. He would take up 4 mil of that trade exception, leaving 13 mil for the Suns to use any way they want.

This requires a lot of palm-greasing to convince the Knicks to do this, as well as the Bulls. Trades MUST include something for each team. So the Knicks would have to give the Suns something, and the Suns would have to give the Bulls something. That something can be a future second-round pick. Hey, it's better than nothing right?

So, let's assume for a moment that this works out.

Now the Suns have a 13 mil trade exception. This can only be used in trades, for up to 1 year. It can be used to acquire 13 different players making 1 mil apiece, or 1 guy making within 125% of 13 mil.

The Suns will have draft picks, huge salary relief and young, inexpensive talent all ready and waiting for the next big dumper. Atlanta, New Orleans, and more. Many teams will be ready to trade a big-money player for flexibility and assets. Maybe for the first time, the Suns will be the bend-"er" instead of the bend-"ee".

In addition, the Suns will have Richardson and Hill expiring next summer (17 mil total).  

So, for a moment, I thought that meant 30 mil in money to spend on other players next year.

Not true. The moment JRich expires, the Suns will be UNDER the cap. When a team goes under the cap, all their exceptions disappear including trade exceptions. 

Hence the confusion, in the second part. This is what seems to have convinced the Suns to give up Amare without the trade exception coming back. They will lose it anyway next July 1. There's no $30 million windfall.

But the Suns do have options:
  • The TRADE DEADLINE. The Suns can use Amare's 13 mil exception + JRich's 14 mil expiring to acquire players at that point. I've already mentioned, in other posts, that there will be A LOT of available stars at this time. We're talking one or more "Gasol" type trades that can be had for those in position to accept.  
  • Extend JRich to a salary that keeps the Suns over the cap. Then the 13 mil trade exception is still available... for another week. Until about July 8, when it expires after 12 months anyway
Clear as mud?

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