So as many of you have probably heard, read, or some combination of both, Steve Nash is being sign-and-traded to the Lakers for a quartet of draft picks. My first thought was "hey, that's a pretty sweet deal for LA, who has a pretty awesome team now." Then I remembered that they already have the highest cap number in the league and the second thing I wondered was how the hell the could afford that. It was because of the trade exception they had from the Odom deal. Now, I know that trade exceptions existed, but I didn't know a whole lot about how they work. Turns out that when you trade a single player for another single player, cash or picks, you receive a cap space exception equal to the difference in salary values of those trades. So if Nash ($8 million) were traded for, say, Steve Blake ($4 million), then the Suns would get a $4 million dollar trade exception that they could effectively use in another trade (not on a free agent). So that sending of Odom to Dallas for a 2nd last year was just part of this trade. It was panned at the time, but what ultimately happened was that, over the course of the year, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix engaged in a three-way trade where LA gave up Odom, two firsts, and two seconds for a second from Dallas and Steve Nash from Phoenix. That's awesome. They've got like two years to win it and that salary cap penalty is going to be stifling, but they did successfully circumvent the cap this way. This changes how I view Prince's contract immensely. Let's say that, next year, he trades tay for a 2nd, and gets a $7.2 million exception to use on a trade within a year. Amnesty Villanueva and they're sitting at around a $32-$33 million cap number with Stuckey, Knight, Jerebko, Monroe, Drummond, Daye, V-Krav, English, Singler, Macklin (hopefully) and Middleton. That gives them room to drop another $15 million on a free agent and sign Monroe long term ($12-$15 million/year), then sign-and-trade for a $7 million player, use their bi-annual exception and mid-level exceptions to go over the cap and build a team full of quality vets and well-drafted youngsters. Having four years to trade Tay gives Joe time to wait for the youngsters to develop and for the right player on the trade block to come along. Is it possible that he meant for this to happen?