Earlier today, the Sixers acquired Keith Bogans and a 2018 2nd round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for a heavily protected 2015 2nd round pick.
Bogans, a 34 year old wing out of Kentucky, played in just 6 games with Boston last season, scoring a total of 12 points.
Bogans signed a 3 year contract worth a total of $15+ million last summer in a sign and trade deal that sent him from Brooklyn to Boston, a huge jump over the roughly $854,000 he had earned with the Nets. His salary was needed to complete the blockbuster deal that saw Brooklyn acquire Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Bogans has two years remaining on his contract, at just under $5.3 million for 2014-15 and $5.5 million for 2015-16, but both seasons are fully unguaranteed. There is no date specific to Bogans contract in which his salary for this year does become guaranteed, like Hasheem Thabeet's would have if he were still on the roster on September 1st. The base salary for all NBA contracts do become guaranteed if they are still on the roster come January 10th.
When a player is signed to a contract to be used in a sign and trade deal, there are a couple of rules. First, the first season of the contract has to be guaranteed. Second, the deal has to be for at least three years in length (up to a maximum of 4 years total).
So, while Bogans was able to get a huge jump in pay last season due to his ability to make the Celtics/Nets blockbuster work financially (an ability he only had due to some pretty interesting loopholes in the CBA), Bogans was never likely to see those second and third years. They were tacked on as unguaranteed years to make the contract legal within the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Cavaliers had just acquired Bogans from Boston earlier this week. Per the CBA, the Cavaliers could only trade him at this time if he were the only outbound player from Cleveland involved in the deal, which he was.
From the Sixers perspective, this deal is about acquiring the 2nd round pick, which will be the Cavaliers 2nd round pick in the 2018 NBA draft. Because Bogans contract is fully unguaranteed, the Sixers will get that draft pick for essentially nothing. They simply were in the right position to make this deal work due to their ability to absorb Bogans' salary.
For the Cavaliers, the move gets them under the luxury tax threshold. That being said, they could have accomplished that simply by cutting Bogans themselves. This is similar to the Hasheem Thabeet deal in that the Cavaliers chose this route instead of cutting Bogans so that they can get a $5.3 million trade exception, which they can use for up to a year to allow them to add salary in a non-simultaneous trade.
The Sixers also sent Cleveland their 2015 2nd round pick, but that has protections on it that make it unlikely to ever be conveyed. The pick the Sixers are sending to Cleveland is 31-50 and 56-60 protected, meaning that the Cavaliers will only get the draft pick if it lands between 51-55 in the 2015 NBA draft. If the draft pick falls between 56-60, the Oklahoma City Thunder will get the pick as part of the Hasheem Thabeet trade. If it falls between 31-44 it will go to Boston as part of the Arnett Moultrie trade. The Sixers will keep the pick if it falls between 45 and 50.
The league requires that both teams send something in a trade, so a heavily protected pick (that was unlikely to ever be conveyed) from the Sixers side was a virtual certainty.
The Sixers are still in possession of 2015 2nd round picks from Golden State, Orlando, and New Orleans. The acquisition of the Cavaliers 2018 2nd round pick will give the Sixers three 2018 2nd round picks at the moment, as they also have their own pick, as well as a 2018 2nd round pick from the Clippers.
Cleveland does also have 2015 2nd round picks from Sacramento and Boston potentially coming in, but they are both top-55 protected, and thus unlikely to be conveyed. They also have a 2016 2nd round pick from the Clippers that is also top-55 protected. The Cavaliers own second round pick for this upcoming draft is owed to Utah, and they owe their 2016 and 2017 2nd round picks to Boston.
If the Sixers do cut Bogans, his salary will not help them get closer to the salary cap floor.