If we bring the band back together, is there money left-over for groupies?

I can’t speak for the other writers, but I’m still too shell-shocked to look back at the playoffs, and the season as a whole. It felt like a rude awakening to a dream, and I’m in the midst of rubbing my eyes to see clearly. There will come a time to eulogize the 2013-14 Raptors. That time is the very near future. The stinging pain will give way to nostalgia, and we’ll reminisce fondly on what was undoubtedly one of the best seasons in franchise history.

But for now, let’s focus on more emotionally detached topics, like for example, the Raptors’ financial outlook.

The Bargnani and Rudy Gay trades really opened up financial flexibility. I trust I’m not breaking any ground there. When last season ended, the Raptors were on pace to be capped out this offseason, thanks in large part to Bargnani and Gay. At worst, assuming Gay picks up his player option, Salmons is bought out, Lowry, Vasquez and Patterson are let go (more on that in a second), jettisoning Gay and Bargs for their combined return netted roughly $20 million in savings.

More importantly, the trade puts the Raptors roughly $22 million under the cap (which is $63 million next season).

That figure assumes a few things:

  • No draft picks are signed (not a realistic option)
  • John Salmons is bought out ($7 million – $1 million buyout = $6 million)
  • Dwight Buycks is waived ($0.8 million)
  • Julyan Stone is waived ($0.9 million)
  • Tyler Hansbrough bought out ($3.3 million – $1 million buyout = $2.3 million)
  • Raptors renounce rights to Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson and Kyle Lowry

The last point is particularly of note. Vasquez, Patterson and Lowry composed of 3/8ths of the Raptors’ rotation. Patterson is the lone floor-stretching big man on the roster, Vasquez was the only consistent play-maker off the bench and Lowry was the best player on the team. There’s no Arcade Fire without Win Butler and two of their extraneous tambourinists.

As an outsider who isn’t privy to insider sources, I can only speculate, but I think Ujiri wants to bring back all three. The haste of Dwane Casey’s extension sent one clear message — Ujiri likes the band, and wants an encore. Restoring the masthead was a clear signal of his confidence in this roster.

And if you don’t believe me (you really shouldn’t), heed the wiser words of Toronto Sun reporter Ryan Wolstat:

Given that player extensions cannot be signed until July 1st, there is plenty of time to project future contracts. More nuanced discussions are coming. As an assumption, I’ll just ball-park their average annual earnings at $4 million for Vasquez, $4 million for Patterson, and $12 million for Lowry.

A total of $20 million for the three leaves the Raptors capped out. If Hansbrough is retained, their draft picks are signed, and the remainder of the roster is filled out with minimum salaries, the Raptors would be slightly over the cap. The option of trading Hansbrough is always an option, given that his contract ($3 million expiring) is reasonable, but it’s largely a moot point. If the band is reuniting, the team will be capped out.

If Ujiri wants to make any additional upgrades through free-agency this offseason, he’ll have to turn to exceptions. At his disposal are both the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions. Had the Raptors paid the tax this season, they would only have $3 million available via the mid-level, but the Gay and Bargnani deals successfully tucked them under, which gives the Raptors the full $5 million for the MLE (those trades just keep on giving). The bi-annual exception totals $1.7 million.

Holding all else constant, the Raptors have some holes to fill. Most notably, as much as we derided him this season, John Salmons’ role will have to be filled. The playoff series against the Nets identified ball-handling and perimeter defense as roster weaknesses. With the full mid-level in hand, the price is right for a capable replacement. There’s not enough money for top-tier players like Luol Deng or Gordon Hayward, but there is enough for a players like Marvin Williams or Brandon Rush. Actually, there’s probably enough for both.

On the surface, this news is somewhat dour to those who feel that the Raptors need to a huge talent influx this offseason in order to take the next step in becoming a perennial playoff contender. It’s rather disappointing — the choice is to either dance with the new girl in town, or with the three girls who you came with.

However, there is still plenty of room to improve. In addition to the exceptions, the Raptors also have their first-round draft pick, and a two second-rounders (Sacramento and OKC’s). Also, despite the declining value of expiring contracts, the Raptors do boast three in Amir, Hayes and Fields. Paired with a draft pick or two, the opportunity to sign-and-trade is a possibility.

And of course, the biggest improvements are likely to come the offseason thereafter. Fields and Hayes’ contracts come off the books, which frees up a total of $12 million for the Raptors to play with. That’s when the Raptors, presumably operating with a more successful core (factoring improvements to DeRozan, Ross and Valanciunas), can splurge for a bigger name of Deng and Hayward’s ilk. But in the meantime, the Raptors still have a few bullets in the chamber, even after reloading Vasquez, Patterson and Lowry. The show must (and can) go on.

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  • DanH

    A quick note. It is not the prior year that determines what kind of exception you have, but the current year. So the Raps, even if they paid the tax last year, could still have the full MLE this year to use. It’s just that once you use it, you are hard capped at the tax apron for the season.

    Also, your 22M is a bit generous. It’s more like 19.7M when you factor in cap holds and our draft pick.

    • DDayLewis

      Right on both accounts.

  • noname

    if fields and hayes are now expiring contracts, then we can trade them + some draft picks (2nd rounders) for a really good player (like a thadeous young maybe, you know phili loves its second rounders, plus they save cap space and hayes can mentor henry sims and noel, and fields can back up wiggins or parker if they get one of them and maybe teach them tricks on defense), add hans if it isn’t enough. Then we can have amir and 2pat off the bench and we have more than enough cap room to sign a Big C and a backup Sf, hell we can even sign a high quality backup 2 guard who can playmake and play defense. We can have way more cap room than you think.

  • That other guy

    I think that the next year will be the year when Raps might actually be looking to splash the cash on a big player. Fields’ (he gets 6,25 or 8,25? this entire info about salaries vary from site to site), Hayes’ and Amirs’ contracts will go off the books. A total of 21,5 mil (if Fields will be paid 8,5 mil) would become available – enough money to lure a big fish. Or maybe Ujiri will be able to make a crazy good trade involving the expirings?

    • DanH

      Fields earns 8.5M, but only counts as 6.25M against the cap, which is the important bit.

  • thegloveinrapsuniform

    so would it make sense for the raps to just try to build more on chemistry and personnel improvement this season, try to make the playoffs and wait till next year to go out and spend?

    • DDayLewis

      If everything holds constant, yup.

  • Sig

    I don’t think “quick assessment” means what you think it means..

    • DDayLewis

      Not quick enough, or too quick?

  • Nick

    In what world is Lowry going to make $12MM??

    • Mo

      He will most definitely make that money.

      • Nick

        I saw one ESPN analyst peg him at $8.5M last week. I’d be shocked if he gets more than $10M. There is no market for him. All other teams either have no cap room or already have a PG

        • TheR3dMenace

          It’s going to be between 10-12/yr for Lowry no question, and that’s a fair contract. Its what all-star calibre PGs get paid in the NBA. I see Vasquez in the 4-5/yr neighbourhood and Patterson in the 5-6/yr range. IMO WLou’s averages are pretty spot on.

          • Microaggressive

            One year being a leader but low FG% and age means he won’t get 10-12 anywhere else.
            That means the Raptors should not over pay for a contract year performance gamble.

            • DDayLewis

              FG% is a pretty poor way of evaluating a point guard who shoots a lot of FTs and 3’s

              • Microaggressive

                that’s another thing, betting 10-12m/y long term on a PG that endangers his body too much.

                • DDayLewis

                  That’s true. It has to factor in.

                • Heyjoe

                  Not too sure what your trying to get at by saying he endangers his body too much considering that he played 79 games this season without any serious injuries.

                  I mean if salaries were dependant on players being conservative to try to avoid injuries then any player that attempts fast break layups would be earning less.

                • Microaggressive

                  “he played 79 games this season without any serious injuries”

                  luckily. But you know that.

                • Heyjoe

                  Could be luck, could be that he works out and can take a hit. Could be both, I think it’s fair to say that every NBA player is lucky when they go a full season without serious injury, since often enough injuries come down to being unlucky.

                  Simple fact of the matter is Kyle gets knocked around alot yet manages to stay relatively healthy and there are tons of examples of players tearing an ACL coming down off layups.

                • Microaggressive

                  And yet you have no reason to give him over 10m per season
                  Risk is part of the process. He does that too much and you don’t deny that.
                  Freak injuries happen. But owning a basketball franchise is a business, not a real war or something.
                  One season of good play does not mean you throw the farm at a guy to keep him.
                  I want Lowry, don’t get me wrong. I want to have the Raptors be a better franchise than the Spurs long term even more.

                • Heyjoe

                  Yes risk is certainly part of the process, being prone to injury is as well though. Lowry got banged up nearly every game and shown that he is certainly not prone to being injured.

                  And I agree totally on not throwing the farm at Lowry, but not because he plays a physical game. There’s a whole host of other reasons why the front office should be careful on how they handle Lowry, it wasn’t very long ago that he had some pretty serious attitude problems that landed himself in court.

                • Microaggressive

                  I’m just trying to be realistic and looking out for the hope of the future.
                  Raptors first

        • asifyouknow

          If the Raptors are set on 8 mill for Kyle it is not going to happen. I agree, he will want and get 10 plus….plus…

      • DC

        Average over 4 years.

    • Tinmann

      Agree – sounds high. Closer to 10.

      • ItsAboutFun

        That’s what I’d bet on. Maybe even matching salary to DD (9.5)

  • Quest

    honestly, i really like the idea of getting vince as our bench scoring vet. re-sign the important trio as well. maybe do a sign and trade of any of hans, chuck or fields along with the lower of our second rounders for a solid defesive rim protecting centre.

  • The Red Fury

    Thank you for this. I think you are spot-on on all points. I love the ‘keep the band together and get an encore’ comment. The reality is this team as assembled should have beaten the Nets but lacked experience/confidence to do it. I would like to think they could have beaten the Pacers and Wiz in the semi’s, and at the very least give a harder time to the Heat than the Nets would. Heat are going to steamroll them.

    I think Masai said it best in his press conference. Nets are built to win now but not in future. Whereas raps will only get better. Would love to see what this team will do next year with a full season under their belt. 50+ Wins? I’d like to think so. Go Raps!!!

    • Will

      I think we should keep the 7 rotations guys together, but don’t think it’ll be so easy to repeat the success we had this year. Chicago will have Rose back next year and may go after Carmelo. Atlanta will have Horford back and was ahead of us before he went down. Brooklyn, despite their age, will have Lopez back. Washington will only get better. Charlotte can improve as well. I’m optimistic but I think we need personnel improvements to keep pace. I’d love to see a backup big who can block shots and a better backup wing.

      • jjdynomite

        I find it somewhat disingenuous that you bring up the “returns” of Rose, Horford and BLopez as signifiers that their teams will all improve. I put “returns” in scare quotes because the three of them have INJURY PRONE stamped on their foreheads. Same with Big Al in Charlotte. Also don’t forget that Washington’s Gortat is a UFA and there’s no reason to think some C-needy team isn’t going to throw buckets of cash at him.

        I know Raptor fans are justifiably gun-shy after 7 years of Colangelo making retarded moves that he had to make even more retarded moves to correct, but I don’t see Masai flailing around like that, and I also don’t see him sitting around and letting other teams get better with no counter-moves. And I don’t look at opposing teams in the East as threatening the Raptors ascent, other than the Wiz (if they retain Gortat) and obviously Miami if the Big 3 all return.

  • RapthoseLeafs

    My 2 Cents

    Raptors need a Starting PF who can provide Offense – someone who will “stretch” the floor. Shades of Bargnani. lol. Amir is a perfect back-up, first off the Bench Big, who can provide Offense, Rebounding, and energy to the game. Toronto excelled on the backs of the Backcourt – but their Front Court placed 22nd in Deff. – hence the PF need.


    They also need another SF. Either a defensive-minded type, or a SF who can create his own shot. Both would great, but so would calling up my local Genie to help out. While Rudy Gay did not adapt to this team – for reasons that reside with a lack of true Veterans (like Kidd) to kick him in the a$$ – it is this type of player, properly motivated, that could make sense for the Raps. This past season’s team relied too much on Lowry, especially during the play-offs.

    Speaking of Lowry, I really do think he’ll be in another uniform come next season. Point Guards of his quality are at a premium – especially for this summer’s Free Agent crop. Some Big City U.S. teams will come calling, and the allure may be too much. Plus I’m leery of giving out anything over 10 million per season for his services.

    The one player who totally impressed me was Vasquez. Not so much for his abilities, which I think are still improving, but his potential to be that elusive Veteran who will kick a$$es out there. During the Net series when the team needed to pick it up, Greivis was interviewed at half time. In that interview, he stated that he was pissed off (actual quote), and hated these guys (Nets). “I hate them so much”. Gotta love a guy like this.

    All this being said, I found myself sitting on the fence this season. Never have I liked the concept of tanking (unsportmanslike), but this upcoming draft is very tantalizing – to say the least. Personally, I had hoped Raps would trade Lowry for a 1st round pick, as I believed then (and still do), that Kyle is gone. I had hoped that the Raps would fall into the lottery, and pick up that dynamic PF or possibly go the PG route at the draft.

    For me, Vasquez could be the Starter for this team. He reminds me of Jose, but with better defense, and greater potential as the Leader of this young team (the Starters that is). Calderon did well in Dallas – who should have beat SAS – so I have to go with the theory that Toronto was responsible for a number of good players not reaching their potential. Or the team not.


    • 2cents

      I think the SF is a more pressing need than the PF. 2Pat and Amir complement each other in terms of their respective pros and cons. The problem was that we had nobody to guard the small ball line up where a SF was playing the 4 spot (Amir and 2Pat guarding Peirce, Lebron or Carmelo just cannot work). We have nobody mobile enough and big enough to who can guard these large skilled SFs, or even a large SG (like Joe Johnson who has a SF body with SG skills). Nobody who isn’t a black hole on offence that is (no disrespect intended to Landry and the Fish… well actually, some disrespect intended). Our new SF doesn’t need to be an offensive juggernaut, just someone you can’t leave open outside the paint.

      • KuH

        It’s important to remember that we may be adding an SF over the summer for free … his name being Landry Fields.

        If he can heal up and rebuild his shot (before the injury he shot 39% from 3 and 55% from 2), he’s the missing piece.

        If he can’t, good thing he’s expiring.

        • 2cents

          I don’t disagree that Landry 2 years ago could’ve filled the SF role. I actually think he should’ve been given more run during the playoffs this year. For some reason Casey doesn’t trust him. If he can regain his shot, and Casey’s trust, maybe you’re right. I don’t have high hopes though.

    • Heyjoe

      I would say that the chances of Lowry leaving for a bigger paycheck are slim to none. The locker clean out interview with DeRozan basically said it all. When they asked DD about Lowry’s free agency his body language told the whole story.

    • Ian

      RapthoseLeafs, you raise some good points – but I generally disagree with your thinking. Neither or Amir or 2Pat are great starting power forwards (at least no in the traditional sense) but both of them are very good role players, right on the borderline of being starter quality and they compliment each others game almost seamlessly with Amir being a hustle offence/ pick and roll specialist, while 2Pat a sweet shooting pick n pop/ corner three guy, and both have good basketball IQs. I also disagree with your statement about their defence – both are actually pretty good, with 2Pat being the better on ball/ rotation guy and Amir being the better help defender – our real defensive woes have come not from them but from having smaller/ inexperienced wing players that give up way too much dribble penetration, and a budding offensive centre, who at this point, is a bit of a negative when it comes to protecting the paint. Obviously, if we could add a starting quality PF who could shoot and defend and create, that’d be amazing, but resources are scarce and we have other problems.

      SF, back up C – Personally, I’m not sure what we should do with T- Ross. His shooting is essential, but playing him and Demar leaves us in trouble when it comes to guarding teams with big wings – yet, we will struggle with offensive spacing if we grab a guy who can guard the bigger wings but can’t shoot. That right there is the biggest problem to solve, because Demar/ TRoss are both unquestionably valuable players, but can they be the long term solution both on offence and defence?

    • Statement


      I disagree that Amir is not starting material. The reasons are well documented, but essentially he’s an excellent two way player who does the things needed on the court for his team to win, as reflected in his adjusted plus minus stats.


      Given that Amir helps the team when he’s on the court, you want him on the court for as long as often, hence he’s a starter.

      I also disagree, but I wouldn’t bet my house on it, that Lowry won’t be back in Toronto. Everything in the media seems to be pointing in that direction. Also, Tim Leiwieke was pretty confident that Kyle would be retained. Though this doesn’t necessarily mean anything, you have to agree that Tim has been able to produce big things for not just the Raps (getting Masai), but also for his other responsibilities (getting Bradley and that other guy for TFC). So he is a closer and I would think he would close on Lowry as well.

  • RP

    The Raptors also have a Traded Player Exception from the Gay/Bargs deals ($4,583,432 and $1,216,720, respectively). Enough room for Jared Dudley…

  • Tinmann

    Makes me realize how long the offseason is.
    I think Lowry will be closer to the 10 million range and that extra 2 million will come in handy. So we do have the money and some assets that can allow us to make immediate upgrades.
    The team will look to build on last year. The East is still full of question marks and the Raptors are one of the teams appeared headed in right direction. If right opportunity I’d bet ownership would exceed the cap. With the right move, of course, not a la BC.
    Raps can capitalize on a huge market. It made some serious inroads this spring. It’s not looking to take a step back.

  • Ds

    As per Masai on the Fan590 last night, the team is looking to add a big-size SF, a rim protector, and a back to the basket big (I’m guessing a PF of some sort).

    • DDayLewis


    • asifyouknow

      I did hear that…I agree…

    • jakdripr

      I like the sound of that, have no idea how he’ll do it since it seems we don’t have as much money as I originally thought. I guess the latter two can be the same player, so it’s really only two players that he needs in the off season.

    • Statement

      How about Rudy Gay to fill one of those needs?

      • Statement

        He said in jest.

  • nickfromtime

    I think Thad Young would be the perfect for this team at either forward spot, preferably at the 4. Amir as the first big of the bench running pick and roll with Vasquez would be ideal. This would kind of blur Patterson’s role a bit but I think Young offers more and would fit perfectly because he can give you legit minutes at SF if needed. Just a random thought though.

  • Frank Rollo

    Deng would be Great, Good team player who does a lot of the intangibles like set screens, takes charges spread the floor and is a great rebounder. I think he would fit in great with this team.

  • webfeat

    Don’t forget that Leiweke is quoted as saying: ““We’re not afraid of the luxury tax at the right time,” said Leiweke. “These owners are in it to win.”

  • ItsAboutFun

    Some people just not paying attention. Masai said quite clearly that he has no intention of making any crazy (read BIG) moves this off-season, and that his first priorities are:
    1. The draft
    2. Signing Lowry, Patterson, Vasquez, De Colo
    3. Finding a shot blocker (read backup C) and a bigger wing (read bigger/better replacement of Salmons)

    No big moves like a Deng or a starting PF. If he’s able to sign those FAs, you can book that he’ll chase no more than a backup C and a big backup SF, neither of which will get in the way of developing JV and Ross. Only they could get in the way of their development.

    • jjdynomite

      Like Masai would tip his hand to the public. Like any of us anticipated the Bustnani and Gay trades when they occurred — as well as Masai’s haul for them.

      • Christopher Bird

        Pretty much everybody anticipated Rudy being traded, or at least guessed correctly that after that horrible start the Raptors wanted to trade him; the only question is what, if anything, we could get in return. Nobody really expected Patterson and Vasquez to explode like they did; they were minor upsides in the trade, big “well maybes” that panned out much better than expected.

        The Rudy trade was all about getting rid of Rudy’s salary for a bunch of guys who had opt-outs for the Raptors if they didn’t pan out. The surprise was that it happened, because many people thought we couldn’t trade Rudy AT ALL.

  • asifyouknow

    Can Toronto afford Deng? That would be a hell of a player for Toronto

    • Heyjoe

      Hard to say. Deng turned down 10 mil/year for 3 years with the Bulls before they traded him to the Cavs. Wouldn’t be suprised if he signs somewhere for 12+ /year. I don’t know the specifics on how much cap space every team has though, and competition would likely decide his paycheck.

      • asifyouknow

        12 would still a good buy..everybody likes the guy so he is probably a good team guy.. he would be an instant improvement , a can’t miss buy…It be great if they could get him…

        • Ian

          Its funny that we are talking about spending the same amount of money on Deng, an older SF with a ton of Thibs usage on his body for 12 per, when thats the number people are talking about for Kyle Lowry – someone who was a very obvious all star snuff this year. Lowry is a more valuable player than Deng, which personally scares me, because if that dude signs for 12 somewhere Kyle should be expecting at least 14 – a very scary option for a raptors team, considering our scarred history with big player signings and perpetually injured guards.

          • Lyall


          • asifyouknow

            That is a very good take…good post

  • jjdynomite

    Unsurprisingly, WillLou’s article is conservative and negative-leaning. Such a lack of imagination.

    Who is to say that Masai doesn’t package the Knicks’ 2016 first rounder with expiring cap ballast like Fields and Hayes to get a stud 3/stretch 4 like Luol Deng — he of the Commonwealth upbringing and shared African heritage — or Thad Young — he of the disgruntled yet still-young near-star who wants to win now and not waste his prime years through a multi-year Philly rebuild?

    Seriously, why even bother bringing up scrubs like Marvin Williams — who only got minutes because the Jazz were garbage and needed veteran stability — or Brandon Rush — who last played in, what, 2011?!? If all the Raptors’ UFAs and RFAs are re-upped, those two would be FAR WORSE than the team’s top 7! You really think Masai would rest on his laurels like that? He twice surprised us before and during this season with bold moves. And now he’s just gonna wait until Fields and Hayes expire? As you kids like to say, SMDH.

    • DDayLewis

      Ahh yes, an article looking at factual possibilities is unimaginative. You’re absolutely right. Way to go! Thanks for your contribution.

      • Ian

        DDay, you can’t let the haters get to you! 6 response posts? Come on mang, you are just giving into that guys bad aura. But I do actually think he has a point – not that he had any right to criticize yourself or William. This post was about obvious financial practicality and the known unknown of which free agents/ possibilities are available to us. I think its definitely possible to see Masai make other big trades, swing some picks or even look to move up in this draft (something I would personally do in order to go after Aaron Gordon), but you just aren’t going to see many RealGM style articles on this site talking about the unknown unknowns of potential trades – no serious sports blogger spends much time on that (other than maybe Bill Simmons), because you’ll never be right.

    • DDayLewis

      Ahh yes, because both Ujiri and Deng are from Africa. he’ll sign him. Shit, I wish the Raptors kept Colangelo. I hear he and LeBron are both born in the same country. He would fit an obvious need.

      • DDayLewis

        Oh, and Colangelo and Durant are both from North America. Sheeeeeeeeeeeit. We shouldn’t have canned that guy. He could have used all that continental influence to draw all those American free agents.

    • DDayLewis

      Again, you’re an adult that’s here to yell at a stranger. Again, your life is going great. I envy you, bud.

    • jjdynomite

      By the way, Sefolosha is having a strong impact on the OKC/LAC game in a high-pressure situation tonight. As do potentially-cheaper guys like MBarnes. Set your dreams higher than Marvin Williams and Brandon Rush, DDay! Big Man?!

      • DDayLewis

        Ahh yes, Sefolosha and Matt Barnes. How could I possibly miss those potential all-stars in a post that doesn’t aim at doesn’t exploring what free-agents to sign. Yup, I failed here.

      • DDayLewis

        Hey man, way to set the youth of the future right. You did something good here. Thanks for coming back.

        • Abused Raptors Fan

          While I in no way condone personal or malicious posts directed at the RR staff/writers/bloggers, and came too late to see almost all of jdynomite’s comments (moderated?) I can’t help but shake my head at the way some of the RR writers have decided to respond to such comments. Even though you are not financially compensated for your work – for which, we are all very grateful – I still expect a certain amount of professionalism from the RR staff when interacting with your readers in the comments section. By engaging in such pointless and petty pissing contests with anonymous online commenters, you bring yourself down to their level, which, is decidedly classless, immature and unprofessional. As passionate sports fans sharing your thoughts with a wider community of like-minded individuals, you’re exposing yourself to justified and baseless criticisms alike, the latter being likely and even expected given the forum.

          • Abused Raptors Fan

            Anyway, the point is that those kinds of comments are expected from commenters, but really are not from the authors themselves. You have the ability to moderate the comments section, and should use it accordingly in these situations, rather than engage in these meaningless exchanges. I am in no way supporting/condoning such behaviour, however, I also don’t agree with RR mods/authors attacking the people who make the site possible.

            On an unrelated note, I thought that the article made some valid points, and did a commendable job exploring the team’s position this offseason without engaging in unjustified speculation. Props

  • ad

    This is the unfortunate reality of the nba with its stupid cap. Even when you think you have flexibility, you dont. Of course, MU is going to want those guys back when the team had great chemistry. However, the team does need a talent influx to take the next step. SF/PF are are weak spots as ross and amir are just way too inconsistent. I have no idea how the team will improve that drastically this offseason but thats why MU is paid the big bucks. I can see basically the same team coming back to training camp with a few minor additions. That likely means playoffs again but a very possible 1st rd loss. Next summer is when things will get interesting.

    • noname

      well if there is no cap…then all the players will just go to LA or NY for the big bucks.

  • nikemanvc

    I saw around the interwebs that the cap might be increasing next year? Hopefully that helps us with another $3-4m of wiggle room! http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24533195/nba-cap-projected-to-increase-more-than-anticipated

    Slightly Unrelated: I’m not an expert on how the cap works, but if we were to make a run at KD next year, does that mean that we need to have room for KD’s entire max salary under the cap (so about $15-16m under the cap) or is it just that as long as we’re under the cap, we’re able to give KD the max?

    • DanH

      Lou used the new projections in his numbers.

      As for cap room, you have to have the actual amount of cap room you want to use (so for a 16M dollar guy, you need 16M below the cap). And Durant’s max is more like 21M, not 16M. There is no way the Raps end up 21M under the cap in 2016 unless they don’t bring back any of GV, Lowry. Patterson.

  • Rapchat

    Thanks for the great article and all the conversation RR staff and fans!!! I love this site.

  • Nilanka15


    One of the most overrated players in the league.

  • Nilanka15

    Anyone think Spencer Hawes would look good behind Jonas?

    And/or Shawn Marion behind Ross?

    • Statement

      They’re okay.

      I would personally like to see rim protection first then an SF, so no to Hawes. IMHO, Ross did a good job this year, though he was shook in the playoffs, hopefully that experience de-virginized him somewhat. He’s a good 3 and D guy for the regular season. I’d like to see Vince back for some offense off the bench and some experience in the playoffs.

    • noname

      not hawes, but I have preache about getting marion instead of vc, I think we should sign and trade 2pat + fields + hayes expiring contracts to phili for thad + james anderson. Add second rounders to seal the deal. then sign marion, then sign a backup C.

  • morganc

    Good article. It’s important to note, however, that we can still get slightly above cap and avoid luxury tax. And good point about the mid-level exceptions. Personally, I think Hayward is vastly overrated, and we should stay away from expensive (re: over 5 mil a season) FAs this year, in what is generally a weak and top-heavy crop (Lebron, Bosh, not coming here so let’s move on).
    Patterson’s value is almost certainly well over 4 million (I would not be shocked if he nets 6 a year, here or elsewhere, hopefully here). But Lowry at 12 is top-end range probably, and possible Vasquez at under 4 (not sure who else will be offering an RFA fringe starter more than that), so your overall math at 20 mil for all three is correct.
    Let’s re-sign KL, PP, and GV, and go after a mid-tier go if we can to fill out wing rotation. Get rid of Salmons and Hansborough. Draft Adreian Payne, and with projected improvements of JV and TR specifically (and DD to a lesser extent), we should be a 50 win team with room to add a true star in 2015 or 2016 (after Fields, Hayes, etc. off books).

    Fuck ya.


    i think pegging lowry at 12 million is a little high. i dont think he deserves more money then derozan and there are better players then him who make less.he has still yet to make an allstar team and he’s 28 years old. guys like iggy and curry are both allstars and make around 12 million. not trying to hate on lowry i like him but he has only played at this level for 1 year and after another year or two he’s goin to start to decline with his age. id say 10 million for 3 years if they could get it done