3 players OKC Thunder should target with $10.9 million tax exemption from Melo trade

Spurs GM, R.C. Buford talks to OKC Thunder GM, Sam Presti (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Spurs GM, R.C. Buford talks to OKC Thunder GM, Sam Presti (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder Sam Presti
EDMOND, OK – JUNE 30: Perry Jones lll #3, the Oklahoma City Thunder first round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, is introduced by Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti on June 30, 2012 at the Thunder Events Center in Edmond, Oklahoma.  Copyright 2011 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Selecting three players OKC Thunder should consider targeting to use $10.9 million tax exemption obtained in the Carmelo Anthony trade on

With Carmelo Anthony officially off the books, the OKC Thunder can look to round out their roster. One of the byproducts of the Atlanta Hawks trade was the creation of the $10.9 million-dollar trade exception. Oklahoma City may look to the trade market to further strengthen its roster.

Not only did the OKC Thunder clear its books of Carmelo Anthony‘s $27.9 million-dollar contract, it created a $10.9 million dollar Traded Player Exception (TPE) or simply Trade Exception (TE). For those who do not know, a TE is created when the salary sent out from team A is more than received salary from team B.

Lets take a look at the OKC – Atlanta trade.

Oklahoma City sent Anthony’s $27.9 million but only received Dennis Schroder‘s $15.5 million and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot‘s $1.54 million back. In essence, the Thunder only received $17 million in salary thus creating the $10.9 million TE (I realize it is slightly less but I rounded up).

A TE is particularly useful for teams over the salary cap. They are able to acquire salary up to the TE amount without the need to match salaries. In case of the Thunder, they can acquire any contract up to $10.9 million. However, the caveat is that it counts against the cap. If OKC elect to absorb a contract without sending a player out, their luxury tax increases from $91.6 million (current) to $155.58 million. A TE can only be used in single player trades but pick involvement is permitted. Additionally, teams are not allowed to combine TE’s and have one year to use it from the time of its creation.

One player OKC Thunder fans have been dying to move is Kyle Singler. His contract has been dead weight for years and with his deal essentially entering its final year (2019-20 is a team option), the Thunder can finally trade him. i.e. Oklahoma City could acquire Kyle Korver‘s $7.5 million from Cleveland by sending Singler’s $5 million and use $2.5 million of the TE. OKC would still have $8.4 million of the TE left.

Sam Presti is most likely to keep it in Oklahoma City’s back pocket to absorb a players contract if a club wants to avoid paying the luxury tax. As a Thunder fan, I am pushing forward with continuing to upgrade the roster.

Lets take a look at some players OKC could acquire using the TE.