According to Marc Stein, the Raptors are interested in acquiring the 22nd pick in exchange for John Salmons and their 37th pick. The stickler is taking back Tayshaun Prince’s contract which is owed $7,707,865 for next season. The Grizzlies would then presumably waiver Salmons who is owed only a million if waived before June 30.

Why would the Raptors want a second first rounder? It’s highly unlikely that they’re going to draft two rookies that late in the draft, and this is very likely a play to get more assets to package the picks to move up in the draft. With Kyle Lowry staring free agency and the Raptors standing a distinct chance of losing him, being upwardly mobile for Tyler Ennis could be one potential play. Or if you dare to dream big, you could package another player and go even higher.

 

 

Will’s Update

So, let’s talk Prince. He’s 34 years old and on his last legs. Last season, he started 76 regular season games for Memphis, averaging a whopping 6.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 25.6 minutes per contest. He can’t shoot from anywhere (29 percent from deep) and can’t get to the basket either.

In essence, the move swallows Prince’s cost, and rents out a big chunk of what would be the Raptors’ cap space.  As I discussed in the Asik trade post, trading Salmons for real money clogs up the Raptors’ cap situation. With Prince on board, the Raptors will be very close to the luxury tax if they bring back Lowry, Vasquez and Patterson for around $20 million. It would mean no more big signings from them this offseason.

However, the upside would be a massive chunk of cap room next year. Fields, Hayes and Prince all expire in 2015 for a total of $20 million plus. That give the Raptors enough room to chase after a big free-agent. And of course, they get another first-rounder. That’s a plus too.

Or, they could potentially use the stretch provision on Prince’s deal, and pay him over three seasons (~$2.6 million per year). It wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do IMO, unless they’re looking to free up cap room for this season. But it’s an option.

I mean, if the Spurs want him, that has to be the ultimate seal of approval, right?

UPDATE

The Grizzlies traded their 2013 pick, which means this could only happen via the Roy Hibbert route, where the Grizzlies take who the Raptors want at 22, then trade it the day later.

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