The lockout is already driving me nuts, and all we’re presently missing is the Summer League. No offense to the Drew League and Kevin Durant’s Rucker Park feats, but I’m craving some meaningful ball news (North American only, I should note). What’s worse, is that I’m a Raptors season ticket holder.

Now, it’s not an awful scenario. Yes, I’ve put down the money for season seats already. And yes, it’s unfortunate to have that money out of my bank account, untouchable, with little tangible return expected for at least a year (I try to be optimistic, but if Billy Hunter can’t even feign optimism, how can I?). As I understand it, MLSE will offer to pay us back, with interest, for games missed (prorated if it’s a partial season), and I’ll have the option to take the cash or put it on my account towards future seats. I’m undecided, a small amount due to bitterness, and in large part due to the uncertainty surrounding the league, my own life, and the team.

But what about the team? Arse has covered how the lockout could impact individuals on the roster, in positive or negative light, already. Dwayne Casey obviously suffers if he’s expected to mold this team on the fly without a proper training camp. And we’re all suffering as fans, of course…this is my third rambling paragraph and I haven’t gotten to the point yet. My apologies, but such is life for the basketball fan this summer.

Now again, I’m generally an optimist. So let’s say, even with the obvious pessimism around the league right now, that a semi-positive outcome occurs. That is, we accept that this season is lost, but the union and owners get their collective act together in time for a proper 2012 offseason, a full training camp, and an 82-game 2012-13 schedule. I know, the timing seems fortunate, but bear with me for the purposes of this article. If this scenario unfolds, where do the Raptors stand as of the 2012 offseason?

Under Contract

Jose Calderon: 10.5M, the final year of his deal, making him a prime trading piece as an expiring contract, if the team chooses to go that route. He’ll be 31 when the season starts.

Andrea Bargnani: 10M, the alleged cornerstone of the franchise, but a potential trade chip if Bryan Colangelo decides to move in a different direction under the new CBA and coaching regime.

Amir Johnson: 6M, likely to be around due to the tough-to-move contract extension.

Linas Kleiza: 4.6M, which could be an expiring deal as the following season is a player option. The better he plays, the more movable he’d be (obvious, but also because he’d be less likely to exercise his option if he is playing well), and I don’t see how he fits long term (sorry if I’m painting everyone to be a trade target).

DeMar DeRozan: 3.3M, and would be a restricted free agent after the season, though the team will certainly work out an extension before it got to that point (unless he plays so poorly no team would up the ante on his 4.5M qualifying offer for 2013, which seems unlikely).

Ed Davis: 2.2M, and the following year would be a team option per the standard rookie contracts. Proved himself to be a worthy member of the core moving forward.

James Johnson: 2.8M, somehow, and a restricted free agent for 2013. Difficult to see him as more than a small role player in the future.


Jerryd Bayless: 4.2M qualifying offer as a restricted free agent, but his status could be impacted greatly by terms of a new CBA and how it treats RFAs (and if 4.2M is suddenly a prohibitive contract amount for a backup PG).

Solomon Alabi: 0.9M team option seems likely to be picked up, even as bench filler, under any type of CBA.

Jonas Valanciunas: Has apparently worked his buy-out out with his European team, and would come as part of the rookie wage scale, though it’s unclear if his contract would be altered due to a new CBA, and if this would have any impact on him coming over for 2012. I think we’ll see him though.

Not Under Contract

Leandro Barbosa: Not sure where he fits on a rebuilding team, and would probably be looking for a contract similar to the 7.6M he was due to make during the lockout.

Sonny Weems: Off to Lithuania, the team retains his rights as a free agent, but there are simply too many unknowns about the team, how he’ll improve in Lithuania, and if his recent Twitter gripe with DeRozan would have him wanting to return.

Cap Situation
It’s tough to speculate here without knowing any details of a new CBA, or really anything that’s been proposed. The Raptors would have 39.5M committed including qualifying offers and team options but excluding Jonas. If we assume they picked up Alabi’s option and tendered Bayless, while bringing Jonas over and letting Weems and Barbosa walk, they’d be around 45M in cap used. In last year’s system, that would leave them with 13M in cap space, but it’s likely the salary cap will decrease in the first year of a new deal. Regardless, the Raptors wouldn’t be hunting for UFAs in rebuild mode, so the only signings that would make a lot of sense with that space are young RFAs from other teams, and again, the RFA system could undergo major changes in a new agreement.

2012 Draft
This is the part I’d be most excited about. The 2012 NBA Draft is expected to be one of the best in some time, if a new deal is worked out by June of next year. With a strong freshman class and many upperclassmen having skipped the draft this year for fear of a lockout, the pool of players is deep and rich with high-upside talent. But where would the Raptors pick?

When the NHL returned from a lockout, they used a weighted system based on the last few years of performance (which somehow allowed the Penguins to get the #1 pick, letting them pair Malkin with Crosby). If the NBA were to do something similar, the Raptors would have fair odds at a top-5 pick. In the last three years they have finished 28th, tied for 19th, and 22nd. The only other teams to finish under .500 all three seasons were New Jersey, Detroit, Indiana, Washington, Minnesota, Golden State, LA Clippers, and Sacramento.

A lot would depend on how the NBA decides to do the lottery, but regardless of the system, the Raptors would be a beneficiary (although if we’re being honest, if they played out 2011-12, they’d be a near lock for a top-3 pick with the current roster construction).

So no, there is not much certainty around the season, the league, or the team at all. And as the lockout continues, we’ll stretch for angles to take and points to make, and the league will give us little to no information, and hope our interest isn’t prorated like our season ticket payments. At the very least, though, things will be exciting when they pick back up, and the Raptors will be in a strong position to kick-start another rebuild.

  • Nilanka15

    What was the issue between DeMar and Sonny on twitter?

    • Blake Murphy

      It was mostly a joke, but Sonny chirped DeMar that he hadn’t heard from him since the lockout started so they must be ‘season friends’ only.

      • Juicey

        Sometimes I hate Twitter.  He sounds liks a jilted girlfriend.  “How come he never calls or texts me?”. 

        • Bendit


  • Theswirsky

    “Amir Johnson: 6M, likely to be around due to the tough-to-move contract extension.”

    yep tough to move those great value contracts.  No team wants those.

    • Blake Murphy

      It’s more that with the uncertainty of the new CBA, it’s unclear if 6M will be exorbitant for a non-star big man, and if the years left on the deal would be prohibitive.

      I like Amir a lot, just meant that the contract could be difficult to move given the uncertainty.

      • albertan_10

        that makes more sense.  thanks for clarifying

      • Theswirsky

        there would have to be an enourmous reduction in the salary cap with no corresponding reduction in existing salaries for that to happen.

        • Blake Murphy

          True. I admittedly neglected the potential of salaries being scaled back in proportion to the salary cap. My bad, thanks theswirsky.

    • Mark Nisbet

      So you think Amir Johnson at 6M for the next decade is a “great value contract”?  Don’t expect a call from Colengelo to interview for the GM job Pal.  While I assume your coming at it form the point of view that 6M is not that bad for a decent PF you need to look at it from another GM’s prespective….He’s been in the league for 5 years and can’t stay on the floor.  He is garaunteed more money per year than he’s worth (albeit it only a bit more) for 4 more years and has little potential to be much more than what he is which is a solid reserve.  If you saw an average looking girl who is a few years older than you but seemed nice would I take her out on a date?  Sure, why not….What if you had to committ to dating her for 4 years?  I’ll Pass.  That’s Amir.  He’s not terrible….he’s just what he is.  A known commodity that is not worth what he’s been garaunteed.  Amir at 7M for 1 year is tradable.  30 M of 5….Dead money.  They should just accept that he’s the back up PF which he is more than capable of playing and trade Davis the first chance they get for help in the backcourt or at SF. 

      NO one is saying he is Gilbert Arenas or Hedo.   But with that contract he isn’t a commodity that has any hope of returning a meaningful player.  He could be dumped for cents on the dollar but why do that?  He’s a good player.  Just not someone I would commit to for the long term as there are lots of Amir Johnson’s around.  Many of which can be had without a 5 year commitment.

      • Theswirsky

        “So you think Amir Johnson at 6M for the next decade ”

        sorry when did his contract get extended to 10 years?

        “He’s been in the league for 5 years and can’t stay on the floor.”

        he’s also 24 and has reduced his foul rate as he gets more consistent minutes.  His fouls per 36 are down to 5.1, which is significantly below any other year. 

        “He is garaunteed more money per year than he’s worth ”

        based on what?  (I would love to see a list of more valuable contracts in and around his price range that don’t include rookie scale contracts)

        “But with that contract he isn’t a commodity that has any hope of returning a meaningful player”

        what do you think consititutes a “meaningful player”?  and why would he have to return that anyways?  There is a significant difference between a player who offers value for their contract (ie. production vs cost) and a valuable trade peice.

        I could agree with your statements if you offered any accurate or meaningful information…

      • points

        everybody knows who has to go and it might take another year for BC to see that SHE has to go ,Amir and Ed going forward .

        pg——  draft pick /  bayliss
        sf——– draft pick/   james johnson
        pf——– ed davis /   amir johnson
        sg——-  demar    /    free agent
        c———  jonas v /    ?????


        • Bo4

          points, right on! I’d like to add that we’ll need a 3rd PG in an 11-man rotation (injury subs included), and to suggest that Joey Dorsey is an OK 4th big to sign as a free agent. However, I don’t see Linas Kleiza as the 4th swing, so that makes 4 unknowns needed before making the playoffs in 2013 (maybe) or 2014, for sure. 

        • Raps Loyalist

          I read a ton of trade Andrea comments on this site all the time.  But never do I read a suggested trade.  I’ve always thought Bargs was a PF and he hasn’t played in a system where defense has been a priority or even seemingly taught over the last 3 years.  The whole team and coaching staff are to blame for the Raps terrible TEAM defense not just him.

          That said, I agree with this post and think an ed davis and Jonas V frontcourt with Amir off the bench is our best bet moving forward.  BC should try to trade big for small again (like Ford for Charlie V) to get the best possible value in return for Bargs. Or do a 3 for 1 style trade and try to get some young pieces with lots of upside.

          I think sending Bargs to OKC for Eric Maynor, Cole Aldrich and the expiring contract of Nate Robinson would be a great trade for both teams.  Raps get younger and deeper at PG and C and get rid of money on the cap when Nate’s 4.3 million go off the book after this year. OKC get a scoring big to pair with Perk or Ibaka when those two aren’t playing together.  Bargs would get a lot of open 3s playing with KD and Russel Westbrook

          Or send him to Atlanta for Marvin William and Jeff Teague. Atlanta needs another scoring option if they are letting Crawford walk and Bargs would be well protected on D playing with Horford and Smith at the 3 and 4.  Plus, M. William as never lived up to his hype (like Bargs) so they would both be getting a fresh start.  Also, we would get a promising young point guard in Teague that has legit starter potential to go along with an upgrade from JJ at the 3.

          FYI both these trade work on the trade machine. 

  • KJ-B

    What I’m looking forward to seeing is the promise of 2012 Jonas Val aka ‘The Real Deal’ which will spell #7’s plane ticket called “St. Elsewhere” (Valunciunas 26 & 11 w/5 dunks in his Sr. National team Debut against Czech Republic) + Hopefully Austin Rivers!!!

    • albertan_10

      it looks like he started, or one of the other bigs got 2 fouls really quick.

    • Nilanka15

      It’s an impressive statline, but I’ll take it with a grain of salt until Valanciunas faces a legitimate NBA-calibre front court.  Looking forward to seeing him vs. Turkey and Spain.

      • KJP

        It’s just nice to see someone who is excited after he scores a basket. Love it!

      • Riego

        I’m going to see him playing against Spain this weekend here in Madrid, and I’ll try to get a photo with him 😀

    • Juicey

      Might not be Barg’s ticket though.  They probably want to pair the two of them together to see what they’ve got.  But it could mean the end of the road for all excuses.  And when the excuses run out, maybe then you get those tickets ready.

      • points

        no then she’ll move to the point guard and start ahead of Bayliss

  • Tim W.

    Hasn’t the whole “Amir has a bed contract” thing been shot down completely?  He’s a 23 year old, athletic big man that hustles, defends, rebounds and scores efficiently.  And makes less than the average salary despite being the most productive Raptor last season.

    And Barbosa is under contract.  He had a player option that he exercised.  

    • Blake Murphy

      The option barbosa exercised is for THIS year. He is not under contract for 2012-13.

      As for Amir, I clarified above. He does make above the league average, though.

  • Ambidextrious

    NBA doesn’t care bahaha!

  • FAQ

    Maybe ticket prices will be reduced after the agreement ….. NOT

    • Juicey

      Sure, ticket prices will be reduced.  So will the prices on food, beer, merchandise, local parking, etc…  They’ll even give you 2 slices for scoring 100+.  But they’ll have no clue how to make the pizza any better, just like they have no idea how to make the product you are watching any better.

      • points

        it’s easy to make the product you watching better by removing 1 ingredient  #7 . Micheal Redd can give you 30 point but he won’t make your team any better

        • cesco

          How come MR was a Buck for 11 years and they still want him back . It seems to me that there are slight differences of opinion of specific players between the pseudo-experts (fans)  and the experts ( those that are paid millions to manage those players) .

          • Sek99

            These guys are experts, but they are also employees. There job is to put asses in the seats. Micheal Redd can do that because he can score a ridiculous amount, but in terms of productivity, he may be below average. Besides all that, the bucks desperately need someone who can score, since that is their main weakness. It makes sense for them, but Redd is still an injury prone player who hasn’t accomplished anything of significance for some time.

            • Nilanka15

              One can argue that Redd hasn’t EVER accomplished anything significant.

  • Bo4

    Blake Murphy, love the logo!
    I don’t want us to trade away Amir at all! He’s one of my core 6!!
    I want us to keep Jerryd, and pay him!!! (A 31 year old PG who is bound to get slower is NOT preferable.)
    (Alabi, no!!!! …) I’d rather re-sign Joey, and keep him even after Jonas comes aboard. Injuries to Ed, Amir & Jonas are to be expected!

  • EasyE

    There is one thing that I just don’t understand with the way BC is putting this team together.  We currently have 3 PF under contract, Andrea, Amir, and Ed.  All of which deserve minutes.  There is only 48 minutes available at the PF position.  Casey made it clear Andrea is not playing Center.  Amir and Ed are too small to play Center; and clearly neither is going to play SF.  It seems like a no brainer to me that someone must get traded.  Amir can play 20 minutes off the bench and not complain about it.  Ed needs ~30 minutes and so does Bargs – so I think one of them needs to go.  Seeing how one of them is allergic to post … I think it’s time he’s dealt.  Sadly, I just know BC won’t pull the trigger on it.

    • Kevin Oppella

      I just hope that all this hype about AB7 being a PF and not a Centre is just leading up to his trade out of TO……..I Hope.

      • AB7

        Please please trade me to a basketball team! 5 years playing curling…

        • points

          Buddy! and to all you  ANDREA  supporters when SHE is traded  to ANY team in the NBA ,I said ANY TEAM in the NBA trust me at the end of  HER contract SHE is out of the NBA so enjoy HER now . SHE  is not a player like the RED ROCKET who will do the little things constantly, She just wants to shoot , buddy watch HER on weekend and you’ll  see what i’m talking about

  • Real Hoops

    I honestly think we should all be excited about jonas valanciunas.