This afternoon in a short press release on their web site, the New Orleans Hornets announced that "they have acquired a conditional second round draft pick in 2016 from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for center Hilton Armstrong and cash considerations."
This roster moves gets the Hornets within $500,000 total team payroll of the luxury tax threshold of $69.9 million. This trade takes Armstrong's $2.8 million salary off of the books for the Hornets.
With respect to this deal, you can be certain of a few things:
- The "cash considerations" component of this deal had the Hornets paying the balance of Armstrong's $2.8 million contract for this season. The Kings get Armstrong for free.
- There are likely so many performance and playing time conditions on this deal that the Hornets will never see that draft pick in 2016.
- Both teams made out well in this deal.
The Kings are desperate for some front court depth and the Hornets were desperate to reduce payroll. Thus, a match made in heaven.
According to the Kings' web site, Kings President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie said "We’re looking forward to having Hilton join the team. He gives us an athletic player who can play the four and five positions. We think he can come in and contribute and we’re looking forward to watching him play.”
This doublespeak can be decoded roughly as "Armstrong has not shown himself to be much of a player. However, since this really has not cost us anything, this is a no-risk deal for us. Anything we get out of Hilton will be more than we are getting right now."
Most Hornets fans are probably mumbling "Good riddance" under their collective breaths. Armstrong, selected 12th overall in the 2006 draft, has neither contributed much nor has he shown much improvement during his tenure with the Hornets.
With less than $500,000 salary to be paired down before the February deadline to qualify as a luxury tax receiver rather than a payer, look for a similar deal upcoming for third-string hustler Sean Marks or third-strong point guard Bobby Brown.