Based on rumors I have a 3 team trade using a team with trade assets (Wolves), a team with cap space (Memphis) that needs talent, and a team in Luxury Tax Hell (Wizards), using the NBA's luxury tax rules to add about $8 million in value to the trade.
Mike Miller from Minny
Etan Thomas from Washington
#5 and #6 overall 2009 draft picks.
#2 overall 2009 draft pick.
Mike James from Washington
Dominic McGuire from Washington
Why it works:
For Washington - They get massive luxury tax relief. If they keep their team intact and draft #5, they will have a payroll around $79 million plus luxury tax of around $8 million. They brought in a high profile, high paid coach to win now, not wait for a draft pick to develop. Flip told KFAN before he formally become head coach that he was going to a team with 50+ win potential. Mike Miller is way more valuable NEXT season than anyone they would draft #5. This move brings in a proven player who would give them great depth at the expense of a draft choice that has a 25% chance of being a bust. They also save about $16 million in payroll and luxury tax, money they can use to keep the core together in coming years. This move only makes sense due to current NBA economic conditions, let's take advantage.
For Memphis - They can't draft the second best player at #2. Rather than reach for a player at #2, they can probably get the same player at #5 and add the sixth pick. They need to get at least one player out of this draft to pair with OJ Mayo, having these two picks almost guarantees adding a starter if not an impact player. The way the draft boards are setting up, the difference between #2 and #5 is small. Most years the #2 pick would be too good to give up for #5 and #6, but this year it would be better to increase your odds with two high picks. They need to take Etan Thomas (with his $2 million trade kicker) to balance the trade and give Washington tax relief. They have such a low payroll it may make sense to do this to add two players such as Tyreke Evans and Jordan Hill.
For Minnesota - They get the player they covet (hopefully not Thabeet...great upside but more risk than Wolves can afford to take at this time). I would rather the Wolves get the #5 directly from Washington and draft #5 and #6, but I just don't think they can give Washington what they want to trade the #5 (massive cap relief). The Wolves also end up saving about $2 million in cap space and I assume would get a trade exception which they could sometime over the next year (not sure about this)? If they can get the player they want and only give up an expiring contract who will not be re-signed, why not do it?