To get technical, the Martin trade is an example of a non-simultaneous trade. Think of it this way: The Thunder traded Martin, but have up to one year to acquire his replacement via trade.
What the Thunder can do with this exception: They can trade almost nothing in exchange for one or more players making up to $6.6 million. Or perhaps stated best, they do not have to send out matching salaries to complete a trade, as you would normally see with other teams over the salary cap. The player can be under an existing contract or can be acquired as part of a sign-and-trade transaction.
What the Thunder cannot do with this exception: They cannot aggregate the salary of a player with the exception. For example, the Thunder can’t combine this $6.6 million exception with a $9 million player and acquire a player making $15 million. The trade exception also cannot be used to sign free agents.
This exception expires on July 11, 2014. That’s one day after the end of the NBA’s annual July moratorium. Because every team’s luxury tax status is locked in place as of the last game of the regular season, the Thunder can tap into this exception before June 30 and not trigger the luxury tax this season. They can also negotiate a trade after July 1 and complete it after the moratorium ends instead.
There’s no guarantee that the Thunder will use all or even part of this exception. Historically, far more trade exceptions go unused than used. For example, the Thunder once had a trade exception worth $2.4 million via the Maynor trade, but it was allowed to expire.
Working in the Thunder’s favor is the fact that the salary cap and luxury tax line will be higher next season than anticipated. That extra breathing room might put this exception in play as the team re-tools for next season.
Jon Hamm is a NewsOK contributor, a life-long Oklahoma resident and contributor to www.dailythunder.com.