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Philly pulls fast one, takes Thomas Robinson off waivers

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets wanted Thomas Robinson. Thomas Robinson thanked God for Brooklyn. But Sam Hinkie, the 76ers GM, had other other priorities and swooped in at the last minute to take TRob off waivers. He is now a Philadelphia 76er.

Robinson had been waived by the Nuggets on Sunday. Under the NBA's waiver rules, teams can take up to 48 hours --meaning 5 p.m. Tuesday in this case-- to file claims for a player. The downside, normally, is that the claiming team has to pay the player his full salary and take on his full salary for salary cap purposes. It usually is perfunctory, particularly when the player has an agreement with another team.

But Philadelphia is not a normal team and Hinkie is not a normal GM. With a payroll so low --more than $10 million under the cap, it's been the preferred destination to dump contracts. But now, with the trade deadline past, the 76ers needed to reach the CBA floor, the salary cap minimum. So, it took the biggest contract out there, Robinson's $3.7 million deal.

As Larry Coon's CBA FAQ notes, "There is a minimum team salary, which for this purpose includes the salaries of players who were amnestied or suffered a career-ending injury or illness and excludes all cap holds. The team salary must be at or above a defined percentage of the salary cap on the date of the team's last regular season game."

This season, teams had to reach 90 percent of the cap or as Coon adds, "Teams with a team salary below the minimum are surcharged for their shortfall, with the money distributed among the players on that team."

So shortly before 5 p.m., Philly decided to take TRob off waivers as Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted.

As Woj later wrote, "Robinson's $3,678,360 salary pushes the Sixers over the salary floor. Denver is no longer responsible for paying Robinson's salary."

A league source, in fact, tells NetsDaily, this was about the salary cap, pure and simple.  "Hinkie could have had just taken him on trade deadline day if he wanted him. This was just to get to 90 percent of the cap."

The same source said there was "a chance, but a slim chance" that the Sixers could release Robinson and let him join the Nets. Otherwise, the Nets have no current plans to fill the 15th spot that was to be Robinson's.

This is not the first time Hinkie and the Nets have clashed. Back in December, he took on Andrei Kirilenko's contract in a salary dump with the Nets. The Nets thought they had a handshake agreement with Hinkie that he'd release Kirilenko.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported it this way...

According to two sources with inside knowledge of the negotiations, the Sixers had agreed to release veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko after the trade was consummated, but did not follow through on that handshake deal. Kirilenko, who played only seven games with the Nets this season, remains on the Sixers roster but has refused to join the team despite a request to do so.

"He might have an IQ of 150, but [Hinkie] doesn't seem to realize you have to deal with these people over and over," one league source said.

Kirilenko refused to report, citing his wife's difficult pregnancy, Hinkie suspended him without pay but ultimately released him this weekend so AK-47 could sign with CSKA Moscow before the Euroleague deadline for playoff rosters.