The Los Angeles Clippers have claimed Rodney McGruder off of waivers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. With McGruder’s salary off their books, the Miami Heat will dodge the luxury tax mark this season.
The Clippers were the only team with a roster slot, an available trade exception and enough space below the luxury tax to add the 27-year-old and will do so knowing that he’s unavailable to play for the team in the postseason.
One advantage that the Clips will get by claiming McGruder is the ability to extend a qualifying offer his way this summer, thus making him a restricted free agent. Because McGruder met the starter criteria, his qualifying offer will be $3 million.
The financial impact that this will have on the Heat is significant. Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that by dodging the luxury mark in 2018-19, the Heat will now save a projected $5.2 million. That’s $2.1 million that they won’t have to pay and and additional $3.1 million that they’ll receive in luxury tax distribution money.
Avoiding the luxury mark in 2018-19 will also benefit the Heat down the road as they won’t run the risk of paying repeater tax in the future should they go back under. The Heat currently have just shy of $140 million on the books for 2019-20.
In 66 games for the Heat this season, McGruder averaged 7.6 points per game. The Clips will welcome the flexibility to sign McGruder, a competent rotation piece, with early bird rights should they wish to do so.
The addition of McGruder to the roster this season brings the Clippers’ count to 14. They can still add another body before the end of the regular season tomorrow.