One in, one out. How does the picture change for the Raptors when they find out the rest of the free agency’s picture this year?
Let’s see where Toronto is now contractually – if not geographically – back with Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka is out the door. The salary cap situation will change again quickly, but we’ll see how it all looks for the Raptors in the end.
Fred VanVleet signed with the Raptors for four years and received $ 85 million. The 4th. Year is a player option, and as we predicted, the Raptors asked for year two to be the lowest salary.
We’ve already discussed this, but to freshen up, the salary of a contract can vary from year to year, with the change from one year to the next limited to a small percentage of the first year salary (for a bird) free rights agent like Fred, eight percent of first year salary). So its $ 21. The salary of 25 million in the first year can drop to $ 19. 55 million in the second major year (the year the Raptors hope to have room to add an agent with maximum salary). Then it goes back up to $ 21. $ 25 million in year three and his fourth year player option will be worth $ 22. 95 million.
Worth considering that Fred will almost certainly turn down this player option and sign a longer term contract unless something serious like injury affects his career at the time. This means that those first three years represent the actual expected contract length and lower his average effective salary of $ 21. $ 25 million to $ 20. 7 million. Absolutely sensible, I say.
The other news, of course, is that Serge Ibaka has signed with the Clippers. For the picture below, it just means that we don’t have to consider a potential contract for him. And that we have to find something in the center for this season.
We now know that Fred’s cap is in the books this year. We can also throw in Flynn and Harris’s salaries after we drafted them a few days ago. While they haven’t technically signed yet, all the signs point to being on the list in a month’s time.
In any case, this season is not about the cap, but about the tax, as we have discussed here.
The raptors are now sitting around $ 20. 6 million shy of the control line. You have to fill two or three places with this money as they have 12 players on the roster and the roster size is 14 to 15 players.
This money will likely go almost entirely to front court players as the Raptors currently lack a huge number of centers.
My recommendation would be to get Marc Gasol back on a one-year contract at any price (probably somewhere in the $ 10 million to $ 15 million range) and then try adding a younger test piece to play backup minutes anywhere between 5 and 5 and $ 8 million, depending on how much gasoline costs. That could be an MLE (mid-level exception) target like Harry Giles or take Chris Boucher back to a year to prove how he fares with a more consistent role.
I have about 900. $ 000 of the above MLE withheld because it is wise for teams to use a portion of their MLE to sign their second round draft picks. Using the minimum wage exception (which allows teams to sign any player to a minimum wage regardless of cap space) limits a contract to two years. With the MLE, a minimum signature can last three years, which in the case of a newbie will result in termination of their contract as a restricted free agent with full bird rights.
The big question is how does this affect the Raptors’ offering for a maximum salary agent next summer?. Well, they planned it out pretty well.
As mentioned above, Fred’s deal conveniently drops to $ 19. 55 million in the summer of 2021, a detail that should tell you that the Raptors’ front office is actually very heavily targeting a free agent this summer. A free agent to go nameless because those poor Bucks fans shouldn’t have to suffer more than what their own crazy front office is going through.
With this deal and the acceptance of a first round next year around the 20th. Overall, the Raptors are US $ 34. 4 million in cap space to sign free agents. The maximum salary for a top career player is estimated at $ 33. 7 million. Nicely done.
The plan is still in place, the signature is good. Now just make sure that any additional signatures for the central position are only for one year (or are not guaranteed in future years) and the prospects are good.
Another stranger currently hanging over the Raptors is Terence Davis. We don’t know whether the team might trade with him or not. His salary is not guaranteed so either way he would be struck off the books.
In this case, an additional amount of $ 1 will be opened. 6 million in the space under the tax this year, but adds to the number of players we need to add.
And the 2021 numbers above assume its cap of $ 2 million is on the books. So if that is dropped and replaced with an empty roster spot fee, the Raptors will clear another $ 1. 1 million margin under the cap.
And here is just a quick reminder of the likely summer 2021 backup plan. The Raptors are currently lining up to land a superstar in the free agency. If they succeed, great, but it means they are giving up their rights to players like Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell, and any one-year contracts they sign this off-season. But if you can land that big fish, this is the price you pay.
But if the Raptors strike and not only does this summer’s biggest superstar go elsewhere but fail other targets, they actually have a pretty solid backup plan. You can just re-sign the guys who had to let them go. Kyle Lowry is allowed to drive into the sunset with a length of stay contract. Norman Powell can get a raise here. And any young (or seasoned) Big Signed this summer can probably be kept if they’re not worth significantly more than the MLE.
Something to keep in mind when the rest of the off-season ends and when you consider the potential cost of signing this reputable free agent. The backup plan goes hand in hand with these costs, and it never hurts to have a backup plan.
Serge Ibaka, Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Fred VanVleet, Free Agent, Kawhi Leonard, NBA
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