LA Clippers: Breaking Down the Sam Dekker Trade

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 28: Sam Dekker /

On Sunday, LA Clippers forward Sam Dekker was reportedly traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for a trade exception.

As reported by the LA Times’ Brad Turner, LA Clippers forward Sam Dekker was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a trade exception. While it may have seemed confusing at first, the trade made plenty of sense for both parties. However, it doesn’t mean the Clippers are done making moves this offseason.

The Trade Exception

Essentially, a trade exception is like extra cap space that can only be used in a trade. The exact amount of the exception received isn’t known yet, as the trade has yet to be made official, but let’s say (completely hypothetically) that it’s a $5 million trade exception.

Therefore, if the Clippers were attempting to trade for a player making $9 million, and could only trade a player in return that was making $4 million, the team could use their trade exception to take on the remainder of the incoming player’s salary.

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The trade exception can’t be used to sign players, draft players, provide extensions, etc. It solely applies to trades, and trades only.

Given the remainder of Dekker’s contract is short and cheap (one year, $2.7 million), it’s hard to imagine the Clippers getting a large trade exception in return. But it’s something, and it may come in handy in a future move.

And speaking of…

The Roster

As it stands, the Clippers have a 16-man roster, with 15 fully guaranteed contracts (the one exception being Patrick Beverley). That puts them at one over the maximum limit, meaning the team must shed one more contract prior to the beginning of the season — although it will surely happen sooner.

Top candidates include Jawun Evans, Milos Teodosic, and Wesley Johnson, with Sindarius Thornwell being a dark horse.

Because of the lack of wing depth and overflow of guards, it’s safe to assume Johnson stays — especially since Dekker was just moved.

That brings us to Evans, Teodosic, and Thornwell. Given Thornwell’s two-way versatility, it’s hard to imagine he’s traded/waived, leaving the two point guards.

Personally, I’d imagine if the Clippers can work a trade similar to Dekker’s for Teodosic, he’d be the one to go. He’s making more money than Evans, which would make him a less likely waive candidate, given LA would need to pay him in full. However, if the Clippers can’t negotiate some sort of deal, Evans may be cut from the team.

His Summer League performance was less than impressive, and given his lack of height, control, and convincing shooting, he may be better off elsewhere.

The Dekker

It’s easy to peg Dekker as the clear winner of this trade, because he is. With Cleveland, now in a non-competitive state, Dekker will surely see more floor time and be given more of a chance to improve his play. It’s an especially motivating situation when you factor in that he’ll be playing on the final year of his contract as well.

Dekker never really caught on with the Clippers last season. After coming in as a career 32% shooter from deep, Sam was able to convert a mere 16% of his attempts in LA. He fell out of the rotation early, and never seemed to recover.

He’ll get his chance to shine in Cleveland, and it’ll be a much better opportunity in the grand scheme.