Perhaps something is being missed, but why can’t we just exchange the TPE for someone on an expiring contract close to $28 million (e.g., Otto Porter) and then as soon as possible (60 days or whatever the new “Dec. 15th” is):
Flip that player + Langford + Nesmith + whatever filler it takes + Two first-round picks for Harden (or a disgruntled superstar of some sort forcing a trade, if not Harden...hell, would love to see the Bucks collapse and Giannis force a trade at the deadline...have to think he’d force his way to Miami or Boston). That’s a a combination of assets the receiving team can spin as “four first-rounders” to save face, and we add the last piece of the puzzle we need to win the title in 2021.
Sure, we can’t immediately combine the TPE with other assets, but it seems like as long as we can get someone to give us a player on an expiring contract that is close to the TPE (or two players that almost add up to the TPE combined), we can effectively trade the TPE plus assets after a waiting period in exchange for someone who’s better than us never using the TPE, or an alternative world where we never bothered to get it...
I’ve been one of Danny’s biggest doubters, but I’ve got a good feeling he’s about to blow our minds with another epic trade and there will be some serious mea culpas from us Danny doubters.
When you get down to it, the NBA needs Lakers V. Celtics in the NBA Finals next year given the decrease in revenues (and we all remember the pathetic ratings of Lakers V. Heat, so what makes them think Lakers V. 76ers or Lakers V. Bucks will be any different?), so there may be a lot of things at play behind-the-scenes that we’ll never know about...perhaps someone somehow forcing Giannis to Boston, ultimately ensuring we’re the new beast of the east for the foreseeable future, alleviates a lot of the NBA revenue concerns for so long as James/AD/Lakers keep making appearances in the Finals with us (can even see Kawhi joining an aging James and AD after we dethrone them with Giannis). Can you imagine if instead of Warriors V. Cavaliers for four years in a row it had been Celtics V. Lakers? Hollywood can’t write a better screenplay.
At the end of the day, it’s a business and it’s entertainment.