Mavs Donuts: Liggins, Devin And The Clever 'Vanishing For Value' Trade Trick

Mavs Donuts: Liggins, Devin And The Clever 'Vanishing For Value' Trades ... For Serious Dallas Mavericks Fans Only!

DONUT 1: DeANDRE LIGGINS SEASON IN REVIEW

This piece started out as a Matt Galatzan-written season review of Dallas Mavericks roster member DeAndre Liggins. (You can read Galatzan's reviews of other Mavs players, an on-going project, here.) And indeed today's Mavs Donuts do indeed include that content, including Liggins' self-review of his brief time here.

Image result for deandre liggins mavs

"It's been crazy, but I'm happy to be here," said Liggins. "I just got to keep working. This is another opportunity."

Ah, but his presence here is an "opportunity'' in other ways, too. So the "Liggins profile'' gets an expanded look, a detailed look, a clever look.

DONUT 2: THAT ROSTER SPOT

There is the in-public stated reason the Mavericks took a flier on shooting guard Liggins late in the year: There was a "Tony Romo-era'' roster spot open, essentially for Game 82 at Memphis, and with Dirk Nowitzki not even making the trip, it was basically an exhibition game in which bodies would get a look.

But there are other reasons for Dallas to have developed an interest in Liggins, a rotation player and part-time starter in Cleveland before being released there (the Cavs wanting to go with a big for the playoffs) and being claimed by the Mavs, who gave him 25 minutes against Grizzlies?

DONUT 3: THE SURFACE REASONING

There is nothing "sneaky'' about Reason No. 1: In that Game 82, Liggins scored eight points, grabbed seven rebounds and added two steals. It was a small sample size, but Liggins showed some of the same things he's shown as he's bounced around the basketball world after being a second-round draft pick in 2011: He is a 6-6 guard who has unusual length for someone who can legitimately defend 1’s, 2’s and 3’s.

Liggins earned rave reviews from coaches and teammates in Cleveland for his work ethic and defensive prowess -- raves from even LeBron James. So he can play a little.

DONUT 4: WHAT IF WES IS MOVED?

A second reason, and this goes a little deeper: On a team that features Wesley Matthews, a guy like Liggins might find it hard to carve out minutes. But on a team devoid of Matthews? Liggins has some “3-and-D’’ traits, and again, is considered by some to be a forward but in fact has some point guard skills and can guard 1’s, 2’s and 3’s.

The gang at DallasBasketball.com Boards jokes that I've "buried the Liggins-related lede'' here regarding a Matthews trade. (We've painted a picture of a Matthews-to-Sacramento trade here.) Maybe that's because of the number of times owner Mark Cuban has insisted to me that Matthews is a must-keeper.

But in any event, this concept makes for a nice “what-if’’ consideration.

DONUT 5: $26,773 WORTH OF BOOKKEEPING

And then there is Reason No. 3, and the geniuses on DBcom Premium Boards unearthed this concept almost as soon as Liggins came to town, for reasons that go deep:

Liggins, in a sense, doesn't really have a contract for 2017-18. But there is in place a one-year, $1,577,230 deal which is a Dallas team option.

If, however, that option is not executed by June 24, Liggins is owed only his guarantee: $26, 773. ... and he becomes a free agent. He cannot be traded, of course, without the exercising of this contract.

But what's the big deal? Whether it's $1.57 million or $26,773, why is it worth detailing here?

DONUT 6: THE 'VANISHING' CONTRACT

Because it is a "vanishing contract," not unlike Eric Dampier’s huge deal that DallasBasketball.com and its smart audience had so much fun with years ago with The DUST Chip. (All that netted you back then? Tyson Chandler and an NBA championship, is all.)

Image result for the dust chip mavs

That is, a team can trade for Liggins in order to get off of one of its existing deals, and then cut Liggins, thus costing itself only $26,773 (that aforementioned guaranteed money.)

In this sense, Liggins is a nice little tool for a trade match. Depending on the other team’s situation, Liggins can bring you back 100 percent, 125 percent or 150 percent of his contract value — last year’s contract value, which was $1,010,696 — meaning maybe $1.6 million or so in trade-match value. 

That's still small.

But wait: the Liggins value can be combined with another Mavs player in trade.

DONUT 7: LIGGINS IN COMBINATION EQUALS RUBIO

An example: A combo of Dwight Powell and his $8.315 million salary plus Liggins qualifies as a trade match for Minnesota's Ricky Rubio and his $14.3 million. The Timberwolves, should they want to get out from under Rubio, can except Liggins as part of the trade and then waive him … And cost themselves not his 2017-18 salary of $1.5 million but only that guaranteed fraction - only $26,773.

DONUT 8: LIGGINS PLUS DEVIN EQUALS ...

Another worthy example using another Mavericks player in a similar circumstance: Devin Harris also does not, contrary to reports, have a “team option’’ for 2017-18. Rather, what is in place is a deal that will pay him $4.4 million ... with only about $1.34 million of that guaranteed. 

Therefore, a team that trades for Harris in order to dump a salary can immediately also dump $3 mil more by dumping Devin.

That's an "almost-vanishing" contract.

Can Dallas use Devin Harris and DeAndre Liggins together in this way? Yes. Using the trade-match percentage rules on Devin, his $4.4 mil can bring you back about $6.5 mil in talent. Combine these two players' "vanishing deals"  and the Mavs can bring back $7.8 million in salary.

DONUT 9: AN $8-MIL PLAYER, WAITING TO BE TRADED FOR

Let that sink in: A Team X that is simply looking for cap relief (and not interested in Harris and Liggins as players) can move off of almost $8 million in salary ... while the Mavericks, if they are willing to divorce these two players, suddenly have the room to bring on an $8-million player in trade.

DONUT 10: QUOTABLE

Worth noting in any coverage of Liggins is his 2013 domestic violence case when he was a member of the Thunder. OKC cut him immediately. He's had his day in court, and he's addressed the issue head-on, in January telling NBA writer David Aldridge, “It wasn’t about what I could do talent wise, or defensively,” he said at his locker last week. “It was about my character. I had to get my character in order.''

It seems he has done that to the satisfaction of the courts, and of the NBA.

DONUT 11: ONE MORE 'VANISHING' ACT

There is one more wrinkle here as it relates to DeAndre Liggins: this opportunity can "vanish" in another way, as well.

The new CBA - which as it applies here kicks in July 1 - dictates that all Dallas will be able to get in trade match for Liggins is his guaranteed total of $26,773 ... making this tool worthless beyond June.

So, as we write this, the Mavs have five weeks to utilize this device ... or lose it.

DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD

I am told that the Mavericks are indeed aware of this "Vanishing For Value'' wrinkle, and were aware of it when they signed Liggins. (That should be encouraging to serious Mavs fans who want to be assured that this front office is as on-the-ball as the DB.com Premium Boards folks are.)

It's a small device that used with cleverness and luck can help Dallas get its hands on a bigger piece. 

It's a “vanishing contract’’ for a new team that “vanishes’’ as an opportunity for Dallas on July 1 ... but until then merits conversation on our part and on the Mavericks part regarding Liggins not only as a player with some promise but as a trade piece with some potential.


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