The Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers completed a minor trade Thursday—the Cavs sent rookie center Rakeem Christmas to Indy in exchange for a 2019 second-round draft pick that’s owed by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Reportedly, the Cavs hope this will allow Cleveland to rid itself of Brendan Haywood and his non-guaranteed $10.5 million deal.
Christmas is said to have reached a four-year pact with the Pacers, with two guaranteed seasons.
While a final decision hasn’t been reached, the Cavs have nearly come to the conclusion that they will not be able to find a suitable deal to use Haywood’s $10.52 million non-guaranteed contract, sources said.
The Cavs shopped the contract around to numerous teams over the past six weeks but weren’t able to settle on a deal they liked. Other possible trades, including talks with the Brooklyn Nets involving Joe Johnson, dried up when teams made other moves. Part of the reason the Cavs agreed to a minimum contract with free-agent forward Richard Jefferson this week was because they realized they’d just about exhausted their Haywood options and decided to move on.
The Cavs have also been concerned about taking on additional salaries because they are facing historic luxury-tax penalties this season. LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert are starting huge new contracts, and free agent Tristan Thompson is expected to follow. […] The Cavs are considering options to move Haywood before Aug. 1, when the contract becomes guaranteed, and create what would be the largest trade exception currently in the NBA. The Cavs used a trade exception they created last summer to trade for Timofey Mozgov during last season, a move that helped turn their season around. Creating a large exception would leave their options open for trades going into the season.