The NBA CBA has a lot of rules regarding trades. Throughout the season, various players will be rumored to be on the block, and Twitter will light ablaze with trade proposals. This guide is designed to make it easy for every Sixers fan to figure out exactly what the Sixers can do in the trade market this season. This primer includes the basics, specifically as far as the Sixers are concerned. All salary information was taken from Spotrac on 10/26/19.

Key Rules

Minimum Salary Rule – Any players who signed for the minimum salary are not counted for salary matching purposes in trades. These players are marked on Spotrac as “Signed Using Minimum.” As the minimum salary increases for each year a player has played in the league, minimum salaries are not equal, but regardless of the salary, if they were Signed Using Minimum, they don’t count for salary matching purposes in trades.

Newly Signed Players Rule – A player signed in the offseason cannot be traded until December 15 or three months after they were signed, whichever is later.

Newly Traded Players Rule – A player who is traded at any time is subject to two restrictions. He cannot be traded back to his old team within one year of the initial trade, and he cannot be traded in combination with other players for two months. He can still be traded on his own to any team other than his prior team immediately.

Salary Matching Rule (Non-taxpayer) – If a team’s outgoing salary in a trade is between $0 and $6,533,333, the incoming salary cannot exceed 175% + $100,000 of the outgoing salary. If a team’s outgoing salary in a trade is between $6,533,334 and $19,600,000, the incoming salary cannot exceed 100% + $5,000,000 of the outgoing salary. If the outgoing salary is greater than $19,600,000, the incoming salary cannot exceed 125% + $100,000 of the outgoing salary.

Salary Matching Rule (Taxpayer) – If a trade would put a non-taxpaying team into the tax, it is subject to the taxpayer salary matching rule rather than the non-taxpayer rule. Under the taxpayer rule, regardless of the outgoing salary, the incoming salary cannot exceed 125% + $100,000 of the outgoing salary.

Trade Exception Rule – If the outgoing salary is greater than the incoming salary, a trade exception is created equal to the difference. Trade exceptions cannot be combined or traded. A team can trade for a player who is making less than or equal to any single trade exception they have without matching salary. Trade exceptions expire after one year.

Stepien (First Round Pick) Rule – A team cannot make a trade that would leave them with 0 first round picks in two consecutive years.

Sixers Roster

The Untouchables – Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Al Horford, Josh Richardson, Matisse Thybulle

At this point in time, I simply cannot envision a scenario that results in one of these six players being traded. Should this change, I will update this primer accordingly. If you are curious what the Sixers could receive, you can use Spotrac and the above listed rules to figure it out.

The Minimums – James Ennis, Trey Burke, Kyle O’Quinn, Raul Neto, Furkan Korkmaz

These players can be traded, but they cannot be used for purposes of salary matching.

The Tradeables – Mike Scott ($4,767,000), Zhaire Smith ($3,058,800), Jonah Bolden ($1,698,450), Shake Milton ($1,445,697)

When I say “tradeable,” I do not mean that they should be traded but rather that it is possible to envision a scenario where they are traded. Sixers Twitter may riot if Scott is traded, but he is their biggest salary trade chip. Scott and Milton cannot be traded until December 15, 2019.

Other Notables – $2,339,880 trade exception (expires 2/7/2020), $1,000,000 trade exception (expires 6/21/2020), 2020 2nds from ATL, NYK, DAL.

The Sixers have surprisingly little in the way of other assets. The two trade exceptions are too small to bring in any real impact player. The 2020 2nds don’t project to be particularly exciting. Trading a first round pick in either 2020 or 2021 is going to be extremely difficult due to the Stepien Rule. The Sixers’ first is owed to Brooklyn if the Sixers make the playoffs, which is happening. The Sixers only receive a replacement first if OKC finishes with a top 10 record in the NBA, which is not happening. They can trade a “fake first” that is unlikely to convey, but realistically speaking, the Sixers cannot trade a first until their 2022 first.

Maximum Incoming Salaries

The following is a reference guide to the salaries the Sixers can receive in return for packages of their tradeable players. Picks can be added to these as necessary, as picks do not affect salary matching.

The Sixers have $4,232,634 in luxury tax space. There is a minimum roster size of 14 and a minimum salary charge of $898,310. The maximum incoming salary takes into account all rules.

Scott, Smith, Bolden, and Milton: $15,202,581. Filling up the rest of the roster would put the Sixers over the luxury tax unless they received 3-4 players making that amount or less combined. If receiving two players, $14,304,271 would allow them to stay under the luxury tax. If receiving one player, $13,405,961.

Scott, Smith, and Bolden: $13,756,884. Filling up the rest of the roster would put the Sixers over the luxury tax unless they received 2-3 players making that amount or less combined. If receiving one player, $12,858,574 would allow them to stay under the luxury tax.

Scott, Smith, and Milton: $13,504,131. Filling up the rest of the roster would put the Sixers over the luxury tax unless they received 2-3 players making that amount or less combined. If receiving one player, $12,605,821 would allow them to stay under the luxury tax.

Scott, Bolden, and Milton: $12,143,781. Filling up the rest of the roster would put the Sixers over the luxury tax unless they received 2-3 players making that amount or less combined. If receiving one player, $11,245,471 would allow them to stay under the luxury tax.

Smith, Bolden, and Milton: $10,435,581. Filling up the rest of the roster would put the Sixers over the luxury tax unless they received 2-3 players making that amount or less combined. If receiving one player, $9,537,271 would allow them to stay under the luxury tax.

Scott and Smith: $12,058,434.

Scott and Bolden: $10,698,084.

Scott and Milton: $10,445,331.

Smith and Bolden: $8,425,187.

Smith and Milton: $7,982,869.

Bolden and Milton: $5,602,257.

Scott: $8,442,250.

Smith: $5,452,900.

Bolden: $3,072,287.

Milton: $2,629,969.

So there you have it. A guide to any Sixers trade rumor you may come across. For a full list of all Sixers’ assets, check out Brian Jacobs’ Trade Value Rankings. Happy trade machining, Sixers fans.