The New Jersey Nets traded Yi Jianlian to the Washington Wizards for Quinton Ross on Tuesday.
The Nets sent the Wizards $3 million to complete the deal and also received the Wizards' trade exception, according to league sources.
The move allows the Nets to clear another $3 million in cap space to spend on free agency this summer.
Yi is scheduled to make $4 million next season. Ross is set to make $1.1 million. The Nets should now have roughly $30 million in cap space to spend after the move, according to sources.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: One team's junk is another team's treasure.
Cap space is king for the New Jersey Nets, as the club needs financial flexibility to sign free agents this summer. And trading Yi Jianlian saves the Nets $3 million and puts them on equal footing with the Chicago Bulls.
Instead of conserving cap space to take a run at a big ticket free agent, the Washington Wizards are taking a different approach. The Wizards are acquiring assets on the cheap from teams who need to cut payroll to compete in the Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and/or Dwyane Wade sweepstakes.
For instance, the Wizards scored Kirk Hinrich on draft day. The cost: assuming the combo guard's $9 million per season salary.
Hinrich can back-up both guard spots and mentor first overall pick John Wall, while Yi will fill in for - and hopefully replace - injured four-man Andray Blatche.
Expect a few more of these deals before the July 1st free agent market opens.