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Keith Bogans - The Secret Trade Asset?

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Steve Mitchell

Back in February 2011, the Nets signed Keith Bogans to a vets minimum deal. Within days, he was injured so severely he was carried off the court and then cut. He had been on the roster less than two weeks. Still, he hung around the PNY Center after his surgery and rehabbed in New Jersey, enjoying the camaraderie of his former teammates Last July, the Nets signed him to a second vets minimum contract, giving him Early Bird Rights ... and the Nets a (somewhat) enhanced trade asset.

As first reported by The Brooklyn Game and confirmed by league sources, the Nets can sign Bogans to a three-year deal with only one guaranteed for up to the average player salary plus 4.5 per cent ... or a little more than $5 million per year. He's only one of the Nets free agents with Early Bird rights.

It's similar to what the Nets did last summer with DeShawn Stevenson, signing him to a three-year deal, with one year guaranteed, to make the Joe Johnson trade work under the CBA. It's why they hung on to Sundiata Gaines before renouncing his rights last summer. They hoped to use Gaines' Early Bird rights in a proposed Dwight Howard trade. It's about making pieces match.

There are restrictions that limit the value of the contract for trade purposes. Because of base year compensation rules, the Nets can't take back the max amount of the deal they give him ... but the player's new team must carry the contract at its full amount on their cap. As Larry Coon writes in his CBA FAQ...

If a team is over the cap and re-signs its Larry Bird or Early Bird free agent with a raise greater than 20%, in order to trade the player in a sign-and-trade arrangement, then the player's outgoing salary for trade purposes is either his previous salary or 50% of his new salary, whichever is greater. The team receiving the player always uses his new salary.

Limitations don't end there, either. Everyone, including Bogans, the NBA, the two teams, would have to agree to a deal. There are also restrictions because the Nets will be over the "apron", etc. etc. And don't expect Bogans to be a piece in a one-for-one deal. Does it have much utility? Not much, say league sources Still, it's another asset in the Nets toolkit.