Vertical Analysis: The Tobias Harris deal

The Vertical
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A breakdown of the three-player trade between the Detroit Pistons and the Orlando Magic by The Vertical Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks, a 20-year executive with the Nets.

BASIC PRINCIPLES
Detroit receives:
Tobias Harris

Orlando receives:
Brandon Jennings
Ersan Ilyasova

THE THOUGHT PROCESS
For Detroit:
Detroit showed its willingness to risk potential cap space this summer with the goal of making the playoffs in April. With this deal, the Pistons are closer to the postseason than they were before the All-Star break.

Tobias Harris brings youth, athletic ability and cost certainty to the Pistons. (AP)
Tobias Harris brings youth, athletic ability and cost certainty to the Pistons. (AP)

The Pistons obtained a player who was on their wish list last July. Harris, 23, is built like a power forward but has the versatility to play multiple positions. Although his production level has dropped a bit this year, Harris adds value to Detroit’s young core. He’s also locked into a deal for the near future.

For Orlando:
Rarely do you see a team fighting for a playoff spot move a player like Harris to a team it’s competing with.

Moving Harris signals the beginning of the Aaron Gordon era for Orlando at small forward. Although a work in progress, Gordon has shown immense potential with his athleticism.

Ilyasova will fill the void that Channing Frye could not since being signed in 2014. Younger and less expensive, Ilyasova has the ability to stretch the defense with his shooting while also adding rebounding.

Obtaining Jennings gives the Magic insurance at the backup point guard position. With C.J. Watson missing the majority of the season, Jennings’ presence will assure the Magic of having depth behind Elfrid Payton.

SALARY-CAP AND LUXURY-TAX IMPACT
The trade is cap neutral for both teams this season.

Because both teams are under the luxury tax there are no tax implications.

The Pistons will head into this summer with roughly $12 million in cap space when you factor in the Andre Drummond cap hold. Before the trade Detroit had roughly $20 million in room. The Pistons, however, will not have to go out and overpay for a free agent this coming summer, especially in a thin market.

Orlando will have $18 million in cap space in July. The room factors in the free-agent cap holds of Evan Fournier, Andrew Nicholson and Jason Smith. If Ilyasova is waived by July 1, Orlando could have close to $26 million in room. Additional room could be created based on the Magic’s decision with their own free agents.

With such a thin free-agent market, the Magic are now grouped with the majority of teams with room instead of having a young commodity like Harris under contract for the next four seasons.

ROSTER IMPACT
Detroit will open up a roster spot with this trade.

Orlando will now have 15 guaranteed contracts.

THE CONTRACTS
Tobias Harris
Harris is under contract through the 2018-19 season.

The cap hit for the current season is $16 million and jumps to $17.2 million in 2016-17. In 2017-18, Harris salary is $16 million and $14.8 million for 2018-19.

Ersan Ilyasova
Although Ersan Ilyasova is under contract through 2016-17, his salary for next season is partially guaranteed for $400,000.

The cap hit for Orlando this year is $7.9 million and $8.4 million in 2016-17. If Ilyasova is not waived by July 1, the $8.4 million salary is guaranteed.

Brandon Jennings
Jennings is in the final year of a $24 million contract signed in 2013. The cap hit for Orlando is $8.3 million. Jennings is a free agent in July will have full Bird rights to re-sign with Orlando.

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