There were a few moves that became official in the Toronto Raptor universe on Wednesday – the Linas Kleiza waive-via-amnesty became official (technically that was Tuesday night), the Raptors agreed to a buy out with Marcus Camby for an undisclosed amount and the Raptors signed D.J. Augustin to help share the back-up point guard duties. Below you’ll find some notes on Kleiza and Camby, a more robust analysis of the Augustin signing and then a somewhat-visual cap update.

Quick Hit on Kleiza
What many thought was a foregone conclusion really wasn’t, as there were a few reasons (timing, trade scenarios, mentoring Jonas, etc) the Raptors could have justified keeping Kleiza around. Tim Chisholm had outlined why it wasn’t cut and dry, and I followed up with some additional thoughts. In the end, Kleiza has been waived via the Amnesty Provision, freeing up nearly $5M in “fake money,” in so much as MLSE will still pay him but now have a bit more fiscal flexibility under the salary cap and luxury tax. That’s an important financial consideration given how large this year’s luxury tax payouts are likely to be (thanks, Mikhail!).

Happy Trails, Marcus Camby
I don’t begrudge Camby for requesting a trade or buy-out. At age 39, wanting to play in a Championship environment, even in a reduced role, is standard fare. He might only have a year or two left in the tank, so wasting one with a middling team probably doesn’t sound attractive.

And a buy-out can be a win-win. While the Raptors will still be paying him some money and taking a cap hit for his non-services, the hit in real and cap terms is lessened with the buy out. Camby still gets most of his previously agreed upon money and gets to seek a contender to play for, while the Raptors still pay less than they would have if they hadn’t acquired him (since he was added for salary-matching purposes in the Bargnani trade).

The terms of the buy-out haven’t been made public and will probably only be speculative for some time, but allow me this guess work: Camby will be paid, and thus have a cap hit of, $2.98M for this year with nothing on the books for next season any longer. That figure is $1.4M less than his previous salary, money he’ll recover when signing for the super-veteran minimum, and also additional coverage for the Raptors as they float between the cap and the tax. The cancelling out of next year’s $1M partial guarantee essentially acts as the “cost” to Camby for his freedom and a further financial benefit to the Raptors.

Burying the Lede with D.J. Augustin News Because Ugh, D.J. Augustin
Contrary to what some have said on Twitter or in PutBack posts, Augustin is not a “good” signing. He’s a pretty non-discrept, inconsequential signing. His strengths include above-average three point shooting while his weaknesses include basketball. He’s fine as a back-up on a non-contender, especially one with a starter capable of playing more than 30 minutes and a third string guard they appear to see potential in, but he’ll be an albatross if pressed into starting duty. Let’s have a look at his profile:

*Augustin is a career 37% three-point shooter, a solid mark but one that has been 35.3% or lower in each of the last three years. He still has a stroke but it’s difficult to call him a threat from downtown, just someone defenses have to be cognizant of. That’s a nice trait to have in a back-up point guard.

*Until this past season, Augustin showed somewhat of a basketball IQ in the sense that almost all of his shots came near the rim or from three point range, the two most efficient spots on the floor. Last year, however, he took just over half an attempt a game in the paint and was basically used as a bomber only on offense. How much of this was his doing and how much was due to the Indiana Pacers’ schemes and personnel is tough to tell, but if Augustin can get back to being a float-and-fire (in-and-out? 3-and-key?) kind of player he might not be all bad.

*Why have I been cold on the signing if those last two points are strong? Because everything else is bad. Seriously, Augustin is just not a strong player beyond the points highlighted above. He’s an awful defender, mostly due to his size and an inability to leverage his quickness, and he did poorly when challenged in isolation or pick-and-roll situations. He had shown some progress running an offense through 2011-12 but his assist rate cratered this season without a resultant drop in turnover rate. He is also one of the absolute worst rebounders in the league, even when acknowledging he’s at a disadvantage in that regard.

Last season the Pacers’ offense was 6.5 points per 100 possessions better when he left the floor and their defense improved by three points per 100 possessions when he stepped off. Some of that can be explained by playing with a poor second unit, sure. But if you filter for just the times when the trio of Paul George, Roy Hibbert and David West played together, that trio scored just 0.954 points per possession with Augustin and 1.101 without him, while they allowed 1.040 with him and 0.992 without him. The second unit argument may hold a bit of weight but Augustin also brought down the play of some elite teammates.

None of that is to say this is a bad deal, though. Augustin is not a good player, but it’s a very team-friendly contract. It’s a one-year deal, which makes it basically impossible to lose on. It’s also at a very reasonable $1.26M salary, a fair price for a PG2A (primary back-up point guard). It’s an almost zero-risk move and there really wasn’t a better one out there – as you’ll see in the graphic below (add DJA’s salary to the remaining MLE amount, assuming Augustin is coming from the MLE and not the Bi-Annual Exception), the most the Raptors could have offered any single player was $2.65M on the free agent market and it would be tough to find a back-up point guard fans would be universally happy with for that price.

It’s low risk and very low reward, but it was a necessary depth add. My guess would be that the Raptors are hopeful Dwight Buycks has enough upside to eventually usurp Augustin for minutes but if not, Augustin can handle 15 minutes a night without running the team into the ground. If Kyle Lowry were to go down to injury, though, oh boy…

Salary Cap Update
This graphic is kind of a living organism right now as more details filter in from moves and smart commenters point out Traded Player Exceptions to me. There are some explanations given in the Kleiza piece linked above, and if anything is wrong or unclear your best bet is to get at me on Twitter for clarification (see handle below). I don’t always double back to check comments, so that’s the best way. Plus, #counttehfollowerz.

raps cap

  • arsenalist

    Blake – DJ Augustin will make you eat your words as he leads this team to 38 wins. Book it I can’t wait to write the “100 Words” post for Augustin…salivating at the prospect..

    • leftovercrack

      Trade Lowry. Augustin and Buyck for the lottery selection

      • leftovercrack

        Who doesn’t want a smaller, slower TJ Ford?

        • slpz90

          Definitely not smaller than TJ Ford and who isn’t slower than TJ? Trolls, I swear……

          • leftovercrack

            Or humor, a sense of which I believe can be bought in stores. augustin is 5’10” without shoes

            • slpz90

              Lol they play with shoes on though…Plus, DA has TJ by a good 20-25 lbs. Just sayin…

      • Samuel

        If they were trying to get the lottery they would have done that deal to send Gay to the Pistons for the two expiring contracts. I think they’re trying to make the playoffs. I’d rather have them tank since this is probably one of the best drafts in a long time, but I don’t see them doing that.

  • Camby

    “He might only have a year or two left in the tank”

    Dude, he’s been running on empty for so long that he’s had to get out and push.

    • arsenalist

      Well done, sir. ROTD.

      • Jack Hodgins

        well deserved ROTD

  • RyGuy Awesome III

    Rudy Gay makes a lot of money

    • Thim

      I can’t imagine what the raptors will do with all that cap space when his contract expires.

      • The Truth

        Maybe Turk will be available.

  • Marshall

    Had to pause reading here to seriously LMAO

    “His strengths include above-average three point shooting while his weaknesses include basketball”

  • Rebuilding

    Sobering thoughts on Augustin

  • Lopez

    You’re being a troll with your Augustin comments. The guys only 25 and has played for the Bobcats and sparingly for the Pacers, give him a chance in his new role before bashing the guy

    • Lopez

      He’s a good backup on a noncontender, yet he’s good enough to be the Pacers backup….Makes a lot of sense.

      • guest

        He was not good enough for the Pacers…that’s why they let him go after 1 year.

        • ItsAboutFun

          You miss the point. Last year he WAS good enough to be the backup on a team that went to game 7 of the conference final. As far as “let him go” this year, I doubt you know the factors, by the Pacers and himself, that went into his signing with the Raps. I think he may be “meh” myself, but at least give the guy a chance to play on this team before bashing him.

          • ezz_bee

            I couldn’t disagree more. Did you watch the Eastern Conference Finals? I watched every game in it’s entirety and most of them more than once. He logged minutes… but it’s hard to say he played. Because It won’t let me do it here I’m going to post his regular season averages, plus his rs per 36 #s plus his play off averages plus his playoff per36, plus his CONFERENCE FINALS averages and Per36. There’s a reason why they let him go. There’s also a reason why the announcers said “The Pacers need to get more from the Point Guards, and more from their BENCH”, about 20x/game. I have nothing against DJ, but he disappeared in the the Conference Finals (not that he was a big factor in the other rounds) so I would definitely agree with the statement he’s good enough to be a backup on a non-contender. Also the fact that we signed him to a 1 year deal at the minimum means that he pacers could have EASILY retained him had they felt like he was good enough to be their back up pg.

            • ezz_bee

              I posted his stats in the DJ thread if you care to take a look. I apologize for it’s lack of readability. I can’t seem to get the hang of the table function.

            • ItsAboutFun

              ” he’s good enough to be a backup on a non-contender.”

              Which is exactly what we got him for, for 1 year. So what’s the beef? He’s good enough for what we are this year, he’s cheap enough to keep the team under Lux tax, in Ujiri’s declared “evaluate & see what happens” year. He’s only 25, and maybe he even ramps his game up with a new coach/team. It’s happened,,,,, but if not, he fits for the year. Seems like a win-win to me.

  • DanH

    As a note, the tax calculation is done differently for players making less than the 2-year vet minimum, so the Raps are actually about 0.5 M closer to the tax than you have listed above.

    • BlakeMurphy

      Thanks, will update for next installment.

  • EmarErozan

    Where on the list is the guy from Denver?

    • BlakeMurphy

      There were issues with his physical so he wasn’t signed. Doubt they’ll add a PG4.

  • privateSectorTaxSlave

    3 point guards in a “contract year” you can bet all of them will be very motivated. Competition will bring out the very best in all of them (What ever that is). Savvy move.

    • BlakeMurphy

      Or…everyone will gun like crazy.

    • The Truth

      Two out of these three guys are at the end of the NBA spectrum whereby they are *always* in a contract year.

  • Milesboyer

    By Christmas we should know which direction this team will be taking. If they’re playing above .500 and showing signs of cohesion and growth, and are mostly healthy, I imagine Ujiri keeps tweaking and tries to push forward. A major injury however, especially if it was Kyle Lowry, then there is the perfect excuse/reason to go into full tank mode, sell off assets and watch Dj Augustine run the ship into the ground. I’m kind of hoping for the latter after Tim’s convincing piece (his 5th post on why Raps should tank?) yesterday.

    • Ds

      With Valenciunas improvement alone + other Eastern Conference teams regressing slightly to badly (Boston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Atlanta), the Raptors should be in the 5-8 range all season. By default.

      • Tim W.

        I don’t see how Atlanta has regressed. They replaced Smith with Millsap, who is a much more efficient scorer, and is bringing pretty much everyone else back. Plus Lou Williams will be healthy.

        And while Boston, Milwaukee and Philly all will probably be worse, Cleveland, Detroit and Washington will all be better.

  • DryDry

    Nobody wanted this used piece of jet trash until he was bought out, so clearly his market value is the veteran’s minimum and not a penny more.

    He’s the crybaby saying he wants to go to a contender, so he should be giving up way more of what’s left of his contract, not less.

  • DanH

    Also, Buycks was signed to a $700,000 contract. And the TPE should be 2.62 M by my calculations.

    • BlakeMurphy

      Okay, hadn’t seen $$ confirmed, was assuming a minimum with a minimum team option, standard fare for these. Link of the $700k figure?

      As for the TPE, I went 11M Bargs – 3.75M Novak – 4.38 Camby = 2.87M, where’s out 250k difference coming from?

      • DanH
        • BlakeMurphy

          Weird, BRef & ESPN have Bargs at 11.9 and HoopsHype at 11.0. Sham is only one I see at 10.75, so I picked the middle #.

          As for Buycks…no offense to Deeks, who is generally really solid, but I’m gonna wait for someone closer to TO beat to confirm. It had been an assumed guaranteed MIN with non-guaranteed 2nd year.

          • DanH

            The 11.9 is after his trade kicker. Look at the BBRef notes on his player salary section and you’ll see that ~1.1M is a kicker – when you subtract that from the total it works out to exactly 10.75M.

            And no offense to you, but waiting for a TO media member to report the salary when Deeks has already said something, rather than the other way around, is not supported by history to be a smart idea. Deeks is almost always right, and he is always more right than the TO media.

            I’d also assumed the min for him, with nothing else to go on. With Deeks saying something, I’d go with that. It also explains why he’d sign with us so quick rather than stick around as the assumed third PG with OKC.

            • BlakeMurphy

              Ya I suppose…Deeks said nothing of the team option 2nd year which I’m almost positive I had read. Ahh well. I updated it in my spreadsheet, will be in there (at .88M anyway for cap/tax purposes) next update. Cheers.

        • BlakeMurphy

          BTW, as mentioned in the post, I only sometimes read comments, so if there are any notes like this in the future, email or twitter is best. Appreciate the help curating the graphic.

          • DanH

            Cool. Will tweet anything else in future. (Though this stuff should wind down now).

  • ckh26

    Lots of negatives here on Augustine Blake. Think of the alternative. A guy who has not played a minute in the NBA (Buckys) as the backup. If Lowry went down .. then what ? Take it for what its for. Low cost Insurance on a guy who has been there and done that.

    • BlakeMurphy

      This isn’t really an argument…OF COURSE they needed a back-up. I’m not saying it was a waste of $ or not a need…just that Augustin is meh.

      • ckh26

        You get what you pay for… 1.25M per year while looking great in your and my bank account…. gets you “meh” in the nba world. Meh is all we can afford. This looks like a good business move by the new regime

        • BlakeMurphy

          “get what you pay for, 1.25M a good deal” (paraphrase) I’m pretty sure I said exactly that in my write-up, so I’m not sure what your point is still….

          • ckh26

            Sorry Blake.. I just read your first paragraph… which to me was saying “not so much” on this interim move by the raps. Which i took umbrage with. So now that I took the time to read the whole thing… yes.. we appear to be arriving at the same conclusion.

            • arsenalist

              You said umbrage.

              • ckh26

                i did sir. Taking Umbrage is better than to challenge Blake with pistols at dawn.

      • slpz90

        Augustin is a solid backup, you talk about defense but 2/3 pgs are solid defenders so its fine to have one thats mediocre

        • BlakeMurphy

          That’s the worst reasoning I’ve ever heard for accepting a player as a bad defender and upgrading him to “solid” because defense can be ignored…just…what?

          • slpz90

            My point is that everyone on your team is not going to be a solid defender. Don’t sit there and act like the NBA is not an offensive league and even the best defenders get burned. Augustin is an offensive player who’s been in a horrible organization for most of his career and he’s still young enough to improve. MU said he’s going to build this team around DC’s style, so obviously DA plays enough D to get by….

          • slpz90

            Jose Calderon is probably the most beloved player in Raptors history and how great of a defender was he? Apparently, defense CAN be ignored.

            • BlakeMurphy

              Nobody ignored Calderon’s was constantly discussed. But he is elite offensively. Augustin is below-average offensively and defensively. Calling Augustin “a solid backup” because the team has other defensively capable PGs is asinine, a player’s evaluation is based on the player, not two guys he’ll never be on the floor with.

              • slpz90

                Lmao JC is elite offensively?? How is that asinine? Every player has their roles and its a team game. At the end of the day its about getting the ball in the hoop, so if he can run the offense and help this team score points then he’s a good backup.

              • slpz90

                And even you said that he’s an “above average” three point shooter. In addition to that, he’s an above average ball handler with above average quickness. Put all that with the fact that he averaged 6 assists per game with a HORRIBLE bobcats squat and you get a good offensive basketball player. Yeah his shooting percentages are low but that goes with shot selection and I’m sure that the offensive sets were not the prettiest in Charlotte..You could say that he was the PG and that falls on his shoulders but all the greats had greats around them so that point is invalid.

  • Maputo88

    Julyan Stone? Where is he on your list?

    • DanH

      Stone failed his physical and won’t be signing this offseason with the Raps.

  • SR

    He’s a very limited player (he looked horrible in contrast to the Pacers’ starting unit) but he’s on a $1.25 mil/1 year contract. He’s got plenty of NBA experience and he’s still young. At that price point, you’d have to use a Replicator to do more with less.

    Also, he’s replacing John Lucas. JOHN LUCAS!!! I don’t know about you guys, but if I had to watch John Lucas run the second unit for one more year, I would have stuck forks in my eyeballs.

    • robertparrish00

      Totally agree. I couldn’t sit through another JL3 shooting slump.

    • Thim

      Or Telfair.

  • SwishaHouse

    PG position is the weakest position on the team.

    • slpz90

      PF, with all due respect to Amir

      • Bendit

        Even with Tyler H.?

        • slpz90

          Yeah, we don’t have a solid starter at PF.

          • Bendit

            Not to belabour but the op was a comment on “the weakest position on the team” not who was a “solid starter”. imo the combo of Lowry/Augustin is weaker than Amir/Hansbrough or should I say I believe that the PF position will have a larger positive impact on Raptor games than the PG.

            • slpz90

              Lowry is more valuable than AJ/TH combined.

  • Nilanka15

    I actually like the Augustin signing. When was the last time we had backup PG who wasn’t a D-League reject, and wasn’t causing controversies by outplaying the starter? (lol)

    I’m big on players knowing their roles…and knowing their teammates’ roles. Going into the season with Lowry as our clear-cut starter should benefit him, and thus should benefit the team.

    Augustin is more than capable of spelling Lowry for 15-20 mpg. And if Lowry goes down long term due to injury, well then we would’ve been screwed no matter who our [realistic] backup is.

  • FAQ

    Some bio on Darryl Gerard “D. J.” Augustin, Jr. (born November 10, 1987) is an
    American professional basketball player for the Charlotte Bobcats. He
    played point guard for the University of Texas Longhorns from 2006–2008.
    He was drafted ninth overall by the Charlotte Bobcats of the National
    Basketball Association in 2008. Augustin is listed as 6’0″ (1.83 m) by
    the NBA but stands 5’10” (1.78 m) barefoot according to the 2008
    pre-draft measurements.
    Augustin was born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

    Hope he doesn’t try to play barefooted….

  • Andre Julian Ward

    The Raptors didn’t resign Alan Anderson?

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