Does the money work in this Timberwolves-Pacers-Bulls blockbuster trade?
First, let’s get into the money of this trade.
The Timberwolves are currently a little under a million dollars into the luxury tax at $137,577,991. The tax level is set at $136,606,000. This is new to Glen Taylor, a man who is very careful with his money. A trade that would get his team back under the tax line would be a bonus for Mr. Taylor in his final years of ownership.
As for the Pacers, they sit at $132,235,175. That is $4,370,825 under the luxury tax, or in other words, room for more money on the books.
As for the Bulls, they sit at $133,790,266. That is $2,815,734 under the luxury tax.
With this trade, the Pacers would send over $37,800,000 to the Timberwolves. The Timberwolves would be sending back $39,365,954. That creates $1,565,954 of cap room for the Timberwolves, just enough to get back under the tax line with $593,963 to spare. The Pacers taking on that $1,565,954 would still keep them under the tax line.
For the second part of the trade, the Timberwolves will send $2,353,320 to the Bulls, and the Bulls would send back $1,850,516, a $502,804 difference. The Timberwolves now have $1,096,767 left, and the Bulls are still under the tax.
For the third part of the trade, the Pacers send $1,701,593 to the Bulls. Both teams remain under the tax.
Where would roster spots stand after a Timberwolves blockbuster trade?
The Timberwolves would be bringing in four new players and would be sending out seven. The minimum number of players on an NBA roster is 13. This trade would put the Wolves at that number, including the two, two-way players in Nathan Knight and McKinley Wright IV.
The Wolves would need to sign Knight and Wright IV for the remainder of the season or add a pair of players for the league minimum instead. Knight and Wright make $462,629 apiece, which equals $925,258 total. With $1,096,767 to spare, that leaves the Wolves with $171,509, just a smidge under the tax, with two roster spots open. The Wolves could play around with multiple ten day contracts till the end of the season if they feel the need to.
The Pacers would have 21 players on their roster, which is far too many. Luckily for this scenario, the Pacers have four players on ten-day contracts: Lance Stephenson, Justin Anderson, Nate Hinton, and Ahmad Caver. The Pacers would need to release these four players and get down to 17, which would still be too many.
But, like they just did to Timberwolves legend Kelan Martin, they have to cut two players. My best bet would be Tauren Prince and Jake Layman, who were essentially added to the trade to make the money work. Prince and Layman can now find a vet minimum contract with a playoff contender and the Pacers now have 15 players. If Lance Stephenson continues to play out of his mind, the Pacers could move on from Okogie.
Chicago would send out two players and receive two players in return, and their roster situation would remain the same.