The Atlanta Hawks have dealt Willie Green to the Los Angeles Clippers via sign-and-trade in exchange for the draft rights to Sofoklis Schortsanitis, the Clippers announced Monday according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Schortsanitis reportedly signed a three-year deal with Athens club Panathinaikos earlier this month so the chances of him ever suiting up in a Hawks uniform are slim to none.
So then what was the point of trading away Green for a player who will never grace the court for Atlanta?
Answer: the ever important trade exception (According to ESPN.com’s John Hollinger, the exception is worth between $1.65 million and $2.75 million.)
The significance of the trade exception is that it allows the Hawks to create a trade anytime within a calendar year of the transaction while over the salary-cap without prescribing to the usual salary-matching demands.
Even if Atlanta exceeds the salary-cap, they can still trade for a player and take on their contract without further adding to the team’s debt. The Hawks won’t have to worry about being penalized because the trade exception acts as a type of credit and would effectively take place of the newly acquired players salary.
If the Hawks can find a player via trade whose contract is the same worth as the trade exception, they are allowed to offer that to the players team as compensation in exchange for the players rights.
The exception can even be used as a contributing piece in a larger scale trade that involves multiple players if the Hawks can’t equally match the worth of the incoming figures — if there is a proposed trade that hits a snag because Atlanta is receiving $18 million in contracts, but can only send out $16 million, they can add-in the trade exception to balance out the figures.
With that said, it’s unknown exactly how the Hawks will use the trade exception, but it certainly gives the team more flexibility to make moves — something General Manager Danny Ferry is all about.