The Collective Bargaining Agreement regulates a lot of things, including how much a player can get paid, how does a team trade with another team, how do players get drug tested, etc. Some believe it protects the competitive balance, others that it overcomplicates NBA life and we should just have a totally free market.
Whichever camp you belong to, one thing it is for sure. As long as humans made rules, humans found ways to bend (and break) them. Knowing how competitive front offices are, we shouldn’t be surprised to which lengths they would go to achieve a competitive advantage. Still, the Pau Gasol trade hides a little detail that will probably surprise you.
As the third pick in the 2001 draft, Pau Gasol was traded to Memphis. He started off well and got the Rookie of the Year award behind an impressive season. After a few first-round exits in the playoffs, it became clear that Pau had to change teams to maximize his talent.
So on February 1, 2008, the Grizzlies traded Pau Gasol and a 2010 second-round pick for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron Mckie, the rights to Marc Gasol, and a 2008 and 2010 first-round picks. That Kwame Brown pick never gets old. But, we will focus on a name not many people would notice. Aaron Mckie.
Mckie had a long NBA career and played for the Blazers, Pistons, 76ers and the Lakers. The only thing is, his last game for the Lakers was in 2005. He became the 76ers assistant coach in 2007. So how did he got traded by the Lakers in 2008?
Many players don’t file their retirement paperwork for years after they stop playing. The CBA rules at the time allowed the Lakers to sign him and include him in the trade just to make the numbers work. Everyone knew it was a farce, but it was by the book and the deal went through. After the trade, the Grizzlies released him.
He still got the easiest 750k in his life – that was the amount the Lakers signed him to.