Today’s exhibit of Sam Prestidigitation is just full of WTF: Shaun Livingston and Mike Wilks are being tossed aside in favor of the Jazz’ rookie point guard Eric Maynor, and what’s more, the Thunder are taking on the expiring contract of essentially-retired forward Matt Harpring, who won’t even come down to suit up.
Were I in Salt Lake, I’d see this as a salary dump, nothing more. The Jazz have more than $80 million on the player payroll, which will almost certainly cost them some eight-digit sum in luxury tax; the fact that most (if not all) of Harpring’s $6.5-million salary is being covered by insurance doesn’t make any difference to the guys who watch the salary cap. Harpring’s departure will save the Jazz that $6.5 million off the cap plus $6.5 million in reduced luxury tax; Maynor, as a #20 first-round draft pick, is making $1,318,920 in his first year. This is somewhere around $14 million the Jazz won’t have to spend.
But this is, once again, an example of the peculiar genius of Sam Presti. He’s paying Maynor’s salary plus whatever piddling sum, if any, insurance isn’t paying for Harpring, which won’t make much of a dent in the Thunder’s cap space; he’s giving up the rights to a 2002 draft pick who never played in the NBA at all; he gets a semi-proven backup point guard for the next two years with options for two more; he gets another expiring contract for trade bait; and the Jazz are now forever, or at least temporarily, in his debt. I would hate like hell to play two-man Tetris against this guy.
As for Royce at Daily Thunder, he likes it. I just want to see what number they give Maynor: we already have a #3 (D. J. White).