The 76ers stole a player from the Brooklyn Nets so they could reach the NBA's minimum salary floor

One day after Thomas Robinson agreed to a handshake deal to join the Brooklyn Nets, the Philadelphia 76ers swooped in and claimed him off waivers.

Robinson was released by the Denver Nuggets earlier in the week. Under NBA rules, Robinson had to go through waivers, where the teams under the salary cap have the right to pick up his contract. This is often just a formality. After players clear waivers, they’re able to sign wherever they want.

Robinson was so sure he was joining that Nets that he told Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, “I’m more than happy to be joining this organisation.”

He also tweeted this:

Unfortunately for him, he never made it to Brooklyn. The Sixers claimed him off waivers, absorbing his $US3.6 million contract. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo, they plan to keep him until the end of the season.

Robinson was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. While he has been a disappointment in the NBA, he has some pedigree.

But this isn’t just about basketball. Wojnarowski reports that adding Robinson’s salary brings the Sixers above the salary floor — the minimum amount of money an NBA team must spend on payroll under the collective bargaining agreement. If they hadn’t signed Robinson, the ~$US3 million difference would have been paid out to the players already on the roster as a bonus.

Before the trade deadline, the Sixers were about $US14 million below the salary floor. Since then they have added JaVale McGee (and got a 1st-round pick for their troubles) and now Robinson to reach the minimum.

The Nets, a likely playoff team in the East, will have to look elsewhere for frontcourt help.

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