Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Orlando Magic have agreed to work out a sign-and-trade deal with the Toronto Raptors which will send Hedo Turkoglu to Toronto in exchange for a trade exception. This deal, in turn, allows the Raptors to complete a separate, three-team trade with Dallas and Memphis, which chiefly involves sending Shawn Marion to the Mavericks. Orlando will not receive any players in the deal.
It's hard not to like this move, as far as Orlando is concerned. There's no guarantee it'll use the trade exception--which would allow the Magic to take on a sizable contract in a lopsided deal--but it's just there, waiting to be used in case GM Otis Smith needs it. What, exactly, can the trade exception accomplish? I'm hardly an expert on stuff like this, so I'll just go ahead and excerpt Larry Coon's indispensable salary cap FAQ:
Here is an example of a non-simultaneous trade: a team trades away a $2 million player for a $1 million player. Sometime in the next year, they trade a draft pick (with zero trade value itself) for a $1.1 million player to complete the earlier trade. They ended up acquiring $2.1 million in salary for their $2 million player -- they just didn't do it all at once, or even necessarily with the same trading partner.
In the above example, after the initial trade of the $2 million player for the $1 million player, it was like the team had a "credit" for one year, with which they could acquire up to $1.1 million in salaries without having to send out salaries to match. This credit is often referred to as a Traded Player exception or a trade exception, but be aware that the CBA uses the name "Traded Player exception" to refer to the entire exception which allows teams to make trades above the salary cap (including simultaneous trades, non-simultaneous trades, and base year compensation).
It's worth noting, as Coon later does, that trade exceptions can't be combined with other players in a separate trade. They also can't be combined with any of the salary exceptions. Still, it's quite the useful tool. For instance, Orlando used the trade exception it acquired from the New Jersey Nets in last year's sign-and-trade involving Keyon Dooling to acquire Ryan Anderson from the Nets just a few weeks ago.
The move doesn't necessarily mean any other Magic move is imminent. The trade exception won't expire for another calendar year, so Smith can afford to bide his time. And, as we've learned during his tenure in Orlando, Otis is nothing if not patient.