Pittsburgh trades a T-Rex for a Taphorn and 2025 cap relief

  • By Michael Miller, Day 115, 2024

PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Vipers have acquired further cap relief and a prospect who fits their mold and team style, sending SG/SF Frashion Lewis, C/PF Rahmond Thompson and the 2025 Scorpions 2nd round pick to the Minneapolis Blizzards for PG Ashanti Brooks, SG Aaron Gayle and C Aaron Taphorn.

By dealing Lewis, the Vipers open up an additional $8.5 million in cap space in 2025, presuming SG Gayle opts into his $4.5 million player option. Gayle also provides value as a shooter off the bench and is a positive locker-room presence.

Brooks actually has some chemistry with PF Hassan Bundu from their CJBL days Syracuse. If the two hit it off, there is a chance (albeit slim) that the Vipers pick up his $6.5 million team option.

The most interesting player the Vipers acquired is Aaron Taphorn. The 34th overall pick in the 2023 draft has the tough-minded personality that Pittsburgh demands from its players, and also presents as an interesting defensive prospect with his 7-5 inch wingspan and ability to play solid perimeter defense for a big.

Taphorn will likely receive significant minutes as the backup bigman through the end of the season. The Vipers may not be done shopping before the trade deadline expires, and are said to be continuing to explore the market.