ANALYSIS: SacTown’s Trade Of Webber Strictly A Salary Move

By Gregory Moore
Updated: February 24, 2005

SAN ANTONIO – On the eve of the NBA trade deadline, the Sacramento Kings pulled off a blockbuster move that in the end looked more of a K-Mart Blue Light Special sale if anything else. By now everyone knows the trade between them and the Philadelphia 76ers but here it is just in case: Sacramento sends Chris Webber, Matt Barnes and Michael Bradley to the 76ers for Corliss Williamson, Kenny Thomas and Brian Skinner. It’s a blockbuster move for the 76ers because they get an all-star caliber player in Webber. For the Kings they get three guys totaling $21 million in salary and not one guy who was making $20 million by himself. Yet just what does this mean for the average fan and how can such a deal fly?

SALARY BREAKDOWN Trades in the NBA must come within 15% of the matched salaries from another team. In other words what the Kings did was to put Webber with two minimum salary guys to come within that 15% threshold while the 76ers packaged three guys whose salaries equaled up to the $21 million mark that was set. Confusing? It shouldn’t be. What this basically means is that the Kings were able to move Webber out of their salary slot and get back three quality players in return.

BENEFITS FOR THE KINGS As stated earlier, getting Skinner, Williamson and Thomas was a fiduciary move by the Maloof brothers. With these three players not only do they get size, offense and defense, but they also get manageable contracts as well. It would not be surprising that one, two or all three of these players may be near the end o their contracts and that helps the Kings even more because then $21 million in cap money would be freed up in the very near future. They also get rid of a player who could be contentious at times. It is well documented that Webber was not truly happy at times and sometimes he would lash out at the media and/or organization for one reason or the other. With Webber gone, Rick Adelman and company can now focus on more pressing issues such as trying to secure a playoff spot somewhere in the Pacific conference.

BENEFITS FOR THE 76ERS The 76ers need youth but more importantly they need a second scorer on their team that can relive some pressure from Allen Iverson. If you think that this wasn’t a good move for this team you are sadly mistaken. What Billy King has been able to do was secure another all-star on his roster and also add some though to a team that is battling for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. Right now as of this writing, the 76ers are 26-27 and a half a game out of the top spot in the Atlantic. Webber’s size brings a different dimension to the game for Jim O’Brien where he can utilize Webber’s skills of beating his man off the dribble and also hitting that midrange shot that has plagued this team for some time.

THE PLAYOFF EQUATION FOR BOTH TEAMS The Kings’ are hoping that these three guys can add a little emphasis on team ball and also push the team over the hump for the playoff run. Although they are seven games behind the Phoenix Suns, that does not man that they cannot play good ball and maybe come into a third seed. Will that happen in the next six games? I doubt that however what the Kings now have are three veterans who are interchangeable at times and that gives the Kings more versatility on both ends of the court; something they have been missing for a couple of seasons.

For the 76ers it is all about flexibility. As mentioned in their vignette, the 76ers are poised to take their division. With Webber he can also go out and play a more traditional power forward in the East and not have to worry about that opponent trying to do the same to him. With the all-star break over, look for Philly to make a strong push to overtake the league; even if that means beating Boston at the Fleet Center.

LONG TERM RESULTS ARE A LONG WAYS OFF The 76ers will have about three seasons to see if their lopsided purchase was worth the money. Webber is due about $80 million over three years. That’s a lot of cash for someone who is a malcontent at times. Can he play second fiddle to Iverson? We’ll have to wait and see on that issue.

For the Kings they have the better end of this deal. Three good players with back end deals on their contracts is a steal. Consider this the equivalent to the famous trade the Dallas Cowboys made with Herschel Walker. Walker got his money from Minnesota and finished his career however the Cowboys made out like bands; getting fifteen picks that have panned out fairly well over their careers. Will this be such a trade, probably not but do consider this on tidbit of information: nobody just trades a player like Webber for the heck of it. In this case the Maloofs needed cap relief and they got it with the help of the 76ers. By season’s end we shall see who made the better of the deal.