First off, if I am wrong about anything I write here regarding the TPE, please let me know below in the comments. I, like most of STR, started reading extensively about it yesterday. I apologize in advance if I am incorrect.
I am going to break this post up into 3 sections: Traded player exceptions, a documentary very similar to the Kings current situation, and what the Isaiah S&T pieces we received tell us about our future.
Traded Player Exceptions
By definition, a trade exception is obtained when the sum of salaries you are receiving are less than what you are sending, and the TPE (Traded Player Exception) takes the aforementioned salary difference in value.
A TPE isn't directly an asset, but it can be seen as an asset to obtain an asset. You can combine TPE's obtained in different deals, and the exceptions can in turn produce players and/or draft picks.
Some comments on the site have said how we received nothing for Isaiah; the pessimist would say this is true. I will explain why this can be seen as a good move in the third section. It was important that we received something (rights to Oriakhi) in return for letting go of Isaiah so that we could obtain this TPE.
A TPE allows you to exceed the salary cap. For example, the salary cap for next season is $63 million. We would technically be able to spend $70.2 million because of the exception. When will we spend this extra amount of flexibility we have earned? I will explain this in the third section.
"The Four-Year Plan"
I recently watched a documentary about the English football club, QPR. New ownership and management took over and promised to earn a promotion into the best football league in the world, the Barclays Premier League, in four years time. They faced heavy ups and downs in the first three years, but in the fourth year, all the pieces came together and they did earn the promotion as promised.
Kings fans can relate to their story. As the new management saved QPR from bankruptcy, our new owner saved us from relocation. As the QPR management promised a promotion in four years, our management promises a much better product by the time the new arena comes around. As the QPR management inherited a terrible team, our management was given an incredibly bad hand to work with. As QPR fans voiced their outrage over certain unpopular decisions, we are now doing the same. The QPR team earned the trust of their fans at the time of purchase, and our ownership should have our trust as well.
A championship team is not built overnight. Each move the Kings make is part of a plan, and frankly the Kings, at the time of the transfer of ownership, were not a team ready to make a run at the playoffs after one season.
What the Isaiah S&T Tells Us
This move with Isaiah shows we are building toward putting ourselves in the best position for next offseason. **Cue groans from readers**
I may be wrong in thinking the Kings best interest is in building next offseason regardless of their outspokenness on wanting to win now, but I feel all signs point to this.
It is well known that Isaiah was not a piece that fit in the puzzle according to Pete. Sacramento has 5 player under contract for the 2015-2016 season. The Kings now have a season to see if Rudy and DMC work together before extending Rudy. From there if Rudy resigns, they have upwards of $22 million to work with because everyone is off the books except DMC, Stauskas, JT, Collison, Rudy and Landry. If Pete can unload JT and/or Landry for expirings, (Or even a TPE!!!!!!!!!), the upcoming offseason situation would look even better. We would have cap space to acquire the players we feel best compliment Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins.
If the Kings wanted to have a better chance at winning this season, I definitely could have seen us taking players from the Suns for Isaiah. However, taking contracts on was not an option for the FO.
It is a tough pill to swallow having to see another ~30 win season according to what I believe will happen, but it puts us in a phenomenal position next offseason to surround the right pieces around our two stars. Isaiah is not a player that fits alongside Rudy and Demarcus, but there was also no fit available on the market. The fans of Sacramento are expecting an improvement this season, but I believe the Kings are building up cap space and flexibility to see a great improvement heading into the 2015-2016 season.