What does the “Poison Pill” deal mean in NBA? Examining the cunning trade strategy following $23 million Paul Reed “Poison Pill” deal with Sixers

Paul Reed, a capped free agent forward, ratified a 3-year, $23M proposal form with the Jazz on Saturday. Since being selected by the Philadelphia 76ers as a late second-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, “BBall Paul” has established quite a reputation for himself.

Reed has received a tonne of support from Philly fans during his first few NBA seasons, from excelling in the G League as a rookie, winning the league’s Rookie of the Year and MVP awards, to competing for a meaningful job as Joel Embiid’s backup. Will the Sixers keep him past the 2022–2023 NBA season? That query apparently is quashed for now.

Sixers match $23 million offer sheet with Paul Reed

If the Philadelphia 76ers wanted to keep the 24-year-old former second-round choice, Paul Reed, they had until Sunday at 11:59 Eastern Time to match the proposition. Philly would have had to accept all of the contract’s terms as part of the complex realm of restricted free agency.

The Sixers, however, ended up matching it late Sunday night. To stay with Philadelphia, Reed will sign a three-year, $23 million contract. The Sixers’ financial condition was less than ideal as a result of matching the offer sheet.

Yet, it also allowed them to keep the beloved backup center of the Philadelphia crowd. While most NBA contracts have pretty basic provisions, Utah’s front staff was able to insert one odd clause that would most certainly make the trade more difficult for the 76ers than it would have been for the Utah Jazz.

Explaining “Poison Pill” deal

For those who are unaware, a “poison pill deal” is simply one with a wage backload near its expiration. They are employed to deter potential suitors in free agency who place a higher value on their long-term salary flexibility than they do on the player of interest.

The “poison pill” clause, which backloaded $15 million in the third year of the contract for Paul Reed, was a concept that President Morey and Asik’s agent Justin Zanik worked on together. Philadelphia has qualified for the Eastern Conference playoffs six straight seasons, so this is especially noteworthy. But in none of those campaigns have the 76ers gone past the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Paul Reed

In fact, since Allen Iverson led the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA Finals in 2000–01, Philadelphia has never advanced past the Eastern Conference semifinals. In an NBA contract, this is literally the “most hilarious and specific poison pill” you shall ever encounter.

The Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, who oversaw the Celtics during their storied rivalry with the 76ers, did a fantastic job at trolling. Depending on how far Philly progresses in the playoffs and what kind of role Paul Reed plays there, we’ll see who has the last laugh.


Kushal Shinde

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