Sam Cassell Traded to Kings, Worst Team in the League
Remember that last season Sam Cassell languished on the Clippers, near the bottom of the standings with his expiration date approaching quickly. With friend Kevin Garnett seeking his first title, old cagey Sam negotiated a buy-out with the Clips just in time to join Boston's roster for that final spell of glory. It worked. Cassell played 13 minutes a night in relief of Rajon Rondo and Eddie House in the playoffs; the Celtics won a ring.
Sam loves Ubuntu, though, and the Celtics agreed to bring him back cheaply this season as more of an assistant coach than anything. But Boston is over the luxury tax -- a reality the franchise signed up for by trading for Garnett 18 months ago. Any little bit to decrease a tax obligation helps; Boston, then, has found a taker for unused Cassell. ESPN's Chad Ford reports the Kings will take Cassell and cash compensation for an uber-protected future second-round pick.
Since Cassell is signed to a minimum one-year deal, the league actually pays most of his salary ($800,000 of his $1.26 million). The Kings will be on the hook for roughly $151,000 in pay to Cassell. Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee reports Boston will pay Sacramento $500,000 for the help; the Celtics still end up saving $300,000 (the difference between Cassell's $800,000 cap figure and the $500,000 fee to Sacramento) in total costs due to the 100% luxury tax. And the Kings make about $350,000 out of it.
There's one other pertinent note: Sacramento is damn close to the luxury tax threshold, as well. This is a risky move, unless the Kings otherwise expect to move away from the threshold. The easy way would be if an independent doctor agrees that Shareef Abdur-Rahim can no longer play and is eligible for a medical retirement effective in November 2008. That would clear almost $6 million off the Kings' 2008-09 salary cap. (Reef still gets paid.) Everyone believes this will happen.
There could also be a few cap-cutting moves on the horizon. Regardless, someone should ask Cassell how he feels about spending the (I assume) final year of his NBA playing career stuck between the bench and last place.