The Toronto Raptors re-signed Kyle Lowry. This is good. Very good, even. Everyone seems happy. More on that momentarily, but first let’s check in with how this changes things on the ever complicated books.

As with all things CBA related, it is difficult for a non-Deeks, non-Coon layman to be 100 percent certain in what they are writing. I’m generally confident I have a good hold on the important pieces and notes, but there’s always a non-zero chance notes include an imperfect interpretation, or that additional wrinkles (“loopholes,” if you will) are possible. NBA general managers are, with a few exceptions, smarter than me.

But let’s give it a shot, because there are a handful of ways the Raptors can still add to the players under contract. Let’s start with them.

All salary data comes via , except in the case of reported deals that are not yet official. Help sorting through exceptions and the likes comes via Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ.

Marcus Camby – Camby is still on the books for $646,609 this season.
Kyle Lowry – While it’s possible, perhaps even likely that Lowry’s deal is structured with a lower starting salary that escalates over the life of the contract, we will assume he is earning $12 million in each of his four seasons.

Under guaranteed contract
Lowry – $12M
DeMar DeRozan – $9.5M
Amir Johnson – $7M (technically only $5M of this is guaranteed, but I’m unclear when the guarantee date is)
Landry Fields – $6.25M
Chuck Hayes – $5.96M
Lou Williams – $5.45M
Steve Novak – $3.46M
Jonas Valanciunas – $3.68M
Tyler Hansbrough – $3.33M
Terrence Ross – $2.79M

Under non-guaranteed contract
Julyan Stone – $948,163 if on roster past July 7
Dwight Buycks – $816,482 if on roster past July 22

Cap holds
Bruno Caboclo – $1.22M
Bebe Nogueira – $1.47M
Patrick Patterson – $4.32M ($7.76M if qualifying offer rescinded)
Greivis Vasquez – $3.20M ($5.38M if qualifying offer rescinded)
Nando De Colo – $1.83M ($1.90M is qualifying offer rescinded)

Current Cap Sheet

Player Cap Type Amount
Kyle Lowry Contract $12,000,000
DeMar DeRozan Contract $9,500,000
Amir Johnson Contract $7,000,000
Landry Fields Contract $6,250,000
Chuck Hayes Contract $5,958,750
Lou Williams Contract $5,450,000
Steve Novak Contract $3,445,947
Jonas Valanciunas Contract $3,678,360
Tyler Hansbrough Contract $3,326,235
Terrence Ross Contract $2,793,960
Marcus Camby Buyout $646,609
Julyan Stone Non-guaranteed $948,163
Dwight Buycks Non-guaranteed $816,482
Bruno Caboclo Draft Pick Cap Hold $1,215,300
Bebe Nogueira Draft Pick Cap Hold $1,468,900
Patrick Patterson RFA Qualifying Offer $4,319,474
Greivis Vasquez RFA Qualifying Offer $3,203,780
Nando De Colo RFA Qualifying Offer $1,828,750

Salary cap – $63.2M, Luxury Tax – $77M

What this table shows is that the Raptors have some flexibility left to add pieces, but it’s going to take a bit of creativity and/or signing the RFAs to reasonable deals.

Ways to clear space
*Nogueira’s cap hold would come off the books if he and the team submitted paperwork indicating he will play overseas next season.
*Patterson, Vasquez and De Colo could all sign elsewhere or have their qualifying offers revoked and their rights renounced.
*Stone and Buycks could be waived, with their rights subsequently renounced (if that step is even necessary when you waive a player).
*Officially sign Caboclo at 80 percent of rookie scale (the figure in the table is the rookie scale, but teams can sign players to deals 80-120 percent of that figure).

Max “cap space”
If the Raptors took all of those steps to clear space, they would have $61,265,161 in player salary committed to 11 players (I’m including Caboclo here, but at 100 percent scale). That would leave them with, obviously, almost no cap space ($1.43M after the cap hold for a 12th roster spot at the rookie minimum). If I’m understanding the CBA FAQ correctly, to prevent loopholes the Raptors would effectively have no cap space. That dollar amount still matters for later tax calculations, but even at $1.43M under the cap the Raptors would effectively be left with only exceptions to sign players.

There is little incentive, then, for the Raptors to take all of these steps just to be “under the cap.” Lowry’s deal, the Williams acquisition and the Hansbrough guarantee effectively closed out any relevant cap space.

Do the Raptors have exceptions?
As a non-taxpayer, the Raptors will have the full Mid-Level exception at their disposal (this starts at $5.31M but can be split between players). They also have the $2.08M bi-annual exception at their disposal, plus a $1.22M trade exception that expires on July 10 and a $4.58M trade exception that expires on Dec. 9.

In order to stay below the luxury tax, the Raptors could only use $15.73M in total beyond the 10 players under contract and the Bruno. That’s a good amount for four players. They could conceivably pay Vasquez and Patterson a combined $10.4M, still have the full mid-level, forgo a 15th roster spot and still be under the cap, although precariously close to it. (They could also split the mid-level across two players and have a full 15, or bring Nogueira over – assuming 100 percent of scale – and have $8.96M for Vasquez and Patterson, plus the mid-level.)

If you’re starting to see that this can get complicated, well, yeah. There are a lot of balls in the air right now, and so much of the cap and tax machinations depend on the timing of moves as much as the actual moves that get made. The Raptors have some flexibility, which is obviously a good thing, but they no longer have enough room where Vasquez, Patterson, Nogeuira and a mid-level player are all realistic together, unless the market for the RFAs is significantly less than it would seem early in the moratorium period.

Realistic Scenarios

Player Cap Type Amount
Kyle Lowry Contract $12,000,000
DeMar DeRozan Contract $9,500,000
Amir Johnson Contract $7,000,000
Landry Fields Contract $6,250,000
Chuck Hayes Contract $5,958,750
Lou Williams Contract $5,450,000
Steve Novak Contract $3,445,947
Jonas Valanciunas Contract $3,678,360
Tyler Hansbrough Contract $3,326,235
Terrence Ross Contract $2,793,960
Bruno Caboclo 100% of Rookie Scale $1,215,300
Bebe Nogueira 100% of Rookie Scale $1,468,900
Greivis Vasquez RFA deal $5,000,000
Wing Player X Mid-Level Exception $5,305,000
Big Man Y Bi-Annual Exception $2,077,000
Marcus Camby Buyout $646,609
SUBTOTAL 15-Man Roster $75,116,061

Personally, I think Patterson is more a priority given team needs than Vasquez, but the market for him also sounds like it’s heating up, and Vasquez is an important chip in uniting Brazilian Kevin Durant with American Kevin Durant. Given that Vasquez and Patterson don’t have dissimilar market values, you could easily pencil Patterson into the Vasquez spot and change “Big Man Y” to “Guard Y” or one of Buycks/Stone/De Colo.

Of course, one trade could blow this all up, or the Raptors could lose both Vasquez and Patterson, leaving them to scramble to split the mid-level or use a trade exception to fill out the roster.

It’s important to keep a wider time-frame in mind for any deals, however, as the Raptors have kept things quite tidy moving forward and they’ll surely want to keep that flexibility. Keep in mind that the cap and tax are both expected to climb over the next few seasons, with the 2015-16 cap currently projected at $66.5M and the tax projected at $81M.

Player Status 2015-16 Status 2016-17
Kyle Lowry Contract $12,000,000 Contract $12,000,000
DeMar DeRozan Contract $9,500,000 Player Option $9,500,000
Steve Novak Contract $3,750,001 UFA See Ya
Jonas Valanciunas Contract $4,660,482 RFA PAID
Terrence Ross Contract $3,553,917 RFA TBD
Bruno Caboclo Year-2 100% $1,270,000 Year-3 100% $1,324,700
Lucas Nogueira Year-2 100% $1,483,100 Year-3 100% $1,546,900
TOTAL $36,217,500 $24,371,600

Assorted Thoughts on the Moves Thus Far
I haven’t been very present around RR in the past few weeks, thanks in part to the NBA Draft being a project of mine at work, baseball writing commitments, moving, and so on. I just wanted to get down a few words on the three main moves of the offseason so far.

Bruno – I was, like everyone, shocked on draft night. I had pre-written 70 draft posts for the players that appeared on either Chad Ford’s or DraftExpress’ final mock. I expected some off-board names in the second round, but I did not think we’d get one in the first round. Well, we did, and it’s Bruno.

The more I think on the pick, the more I like it. Not in the sense that I have any clue whether Caboclo’s going to be a good NBA player, but because of what it says about Masai Ujiri and the organization. There were players I liked at No. 20 – K.J. McDaniels will be the one that got away – but none of them were franchise-changers. Caboclo probably isn’t, either, but the Raptors are exactly the type of team that should be swinging for upside with every single move. I’m a proponent of “best talent available” in the draft, and Ujiri took this a step further with “best upside available,” so I can’t really argue.

The franchise is clearly ready to embrace variance as a necessary means of improving the team’s talent level. I can get behind that at a strategic level. At a fan level, this is going to be really fun.

Lou Trill – This was a pretty straight-forward deal. We saw the cap ramifications above, but look at the deals guards have gotten in the market so far – the Raptors took that would-be cap space and turned it into a one-year mid-level exception deal for Lou Williams, something that no longer appears possible on the open market. And they got an intriguing prospect – and terrific hashtag (#BrunoAndBebe) – for agreeing to the swap. This was a smart, low-risk, high-flexibility move that netted a prospect to boot. That’s a win, and if Williams can regain his 2011 form in year two after ACL surgery (not a given), it could be an important one.

KLOE – This is wonderful. I talked about it a bit in the group post, but I’m very, very happy to have Kyle Lowry back with the Raptors, and at a relatively fair price, too. Sure, there are concerns, as always. Lowry could get grumpy again, he could put on weight, his body could break down, he could lose a step and no longer be as effective finding tight spaces or pulling up off a screen. Those are concerns, but they’re going to be concerns with any free agent who is 28 or older and not LeBron James.

In terms of price and term, this is completely fine. For Lowry, he can walk away after three years, at age 31, with plenty of time to chase a ring still. I had actually considered whether a fifth year from Toronto would even be preferable to a three-year deal for Lowry, and the fourth-year option makes perfect sense for that reason. The team now has a three-year window where the downside should be that of a playoff team, and the flexibility on the books is such that there’s still room for improvement.

More importantly, the team has its avatar back for the 2014-15 season. I think that’s very, very important. This is a team that was built on chemistry and synergy, and losing the engine could have been a major loss. He’s also the emotional heart of the team, cheesy as that may sound, and he grew into a role as a leader and an on-court extension of Dwane Casey well. I don’t doubt there will be stumbles or even blow-ups, because guys who care as much as Lowry are going to have those. But that desire to win so badly is this team’s identity, and it’s now in place for at least the start of next season, when only success will ensure it carries forward.

If you’re MLSE, too, you’re ecstatic to have Lowry back. More than any other player during the playoff run, the city and casual fans seemed to embrace Lowry (and it’s really not hard to see why). He’s not a top-flight marketing option or anything, but he’s the player the casual fans who joined on late in the year surely identify as The Guy, and his career path to date fits in really well with the team’s othering marketing campaign. If it’s us against the world, well, it’s been like that for Lowry for a long time, and he just chose to be with us rather than with the greater them. That’s huge.

TL; DR on Lowry:

Share this:
  • miggy_smalls

    man, you guys do some great work here. Very informative post, Blake. In Masai we Trust!

  • DanH

    You should assume 120% for the rookie scale guys. Don’t you remember MEM pissing off their rookies by trying to sign them to less than the full 120%? They sat out training camp refusing to sign until MEM folded and gave them the 120% (and looked cheap and like a second class NBA city in the eyes of the players because of their shenanigans). Just a bad idea.

    It should be noted that Lowry’s 12M can range from 10.8M to 13.5M this year. That’s quite a range, but it is helpful in setting up best and worst cases, as that can be the difference between having the full MLE plus 9.6M to split between Patterson and Vasquez and having the full MLE plus 7.0M to split between them – basically the difference between maybe being able to bring them both back plus use the full MLE, and almost certainly having to choose between the MLE and the cheaper of the two RFA’s.

    • BlakeMurphy

      Yeah, probably. The cap holds are what matter for the cap right now, but it’s probably almost certain they’ll sign 120%, which is what will matter. Should have done 120 for the “future years” part, at least.

      And yeah, I mentioned on Lowry the assumption off the top – there are just way too many possibilities to go through appropriately at 10.8, 12 or 13.5 for Lowry 1st year, and since there’s been nothing suggesting otherwise I’m just going to assume 12-12-12-12 until I hear otherwise, then I’ll adjust.

      • DanH

        Well, the cap holds matter for the cap, but we have no cap space anyway, so not really. The final salary is all that matters for the tax, which is what we are planning around now.

        Fair enough on Lowry, just thought it would be good to point out the full range so you can get an idea of best and worst case, rather than planning around an average and being surprised when 1.5M of cap space potentially disappears due to front loading (not that I think it is likely – more likely we end up with more cap space than expected).

        On that note, what I hope for Lowry’s structure is 12M, 11.1M, 12M, 12.9M, to maximize cap room next summer.

        • LuckyMystery

          I feel like they could essentially do a sign and trade for a guy like Deng and still keep both Vaz and 2Pat, and the way Masai is going I wouldn’t doubt it.

          If Cleveland is willing to take Novak, Hayes, the 2 trade exceptions and possibly a protected first rounder. that would be just over 15 million with less than 10 in guaranteed money and only Novak on the books for the following season at 3.75. Cleveland would essentially get 4 trade chips plus a first rounder. Both Hayes and Novak also would fill roles on a team hoping to make the playoffs.

          • DanH

            First, you can’t use trade exceptions like that. Second, Cleveland would be sacrificing their current max cap space (which they hope to use to get LeBron or grab a guy like Hayward) just for the privilege of taking on our crap (Novak doesn’t even expire this year) and a protected first rounder? You’d get laughed off the phone.

            • LuckyMystery

              Why can’t trade exceptions be used that way? And obviously this would happen after Cleveland doesn’t get Lebron or anyone else

              • DanH

                Trade exceptions can be used to absorb an entire salary. They cannot be combined with players or other trade exceptions to absorb a bigger salary. Nor can trade exceptions be traded – they are used to absorb salary and are not like draft picks or players which can be actively moved from one team to another. Just like how we can’t trade our MLE to another team.

              • DanH

                By definition.

  • jjdynomite

    Good stuff, Blake. Sorry that you have to write for baseball for the Score App, as I appreciate your writing and thoroughness but there is little reason for me to swipe my way over to that section. Well, maybe in August once Summer League is over and the Jays are still in the playoff race.

    It is honestly too bad that The Original LouWill is a PG/SG (not a SG/SF) since our incumbent starter-worthy SG/SFs are smallish (DD and T-Ross). I really would not want to tie up our cap in a mediocre “big” SF, considering utter scrub SG/SFs like CJ Miles and Jodie Meeks have “earned” between $4.5m and $6.33m, which means the Ariza and Deng types will be demanding $10-$12 million. Hey, at least they’re not $19 million of Rudy Gay.

    Of course, a trade route would be jettisonning some of our 2015 expiring riffraff like NovakHansbroughHayesWilliamsFields for a SF with upside like Tobias Harris (‘cuz we ain’t getting Ariza, Deng or Hayward for our bench fodder, although we could package one of our starters for them).

    Or, just wait until NovakHansbroughHayesWilliamsFields+CambyBuyout all expire, get a vet on a one year contract (or 2 year if signed this summer) and wait until the 2016 Kraft Dinner is ready for serving. 🙂

  • Matteemo

    I thought Landry Fields was making 8.5 million this year because of that ridiculous poison pill contract…?

    • DanH

      In cash, yes. But due to his Gilbert Arenas (not poison pill) contract structure, the cap hit is averaged over the three years equally, meaning 6.25M.

      Oh, and never use hoopshype for salaries. Use Shamsports, all the time and every time. Basketball-reference is a good backup for when Sham’s updates are pending (such as now).

      • Matteemo

        Ah gotcha, makes sense, and thanks for the info about Shamsports. Basketball-reference is usually my main go to, but often says “page cannot be found” when accessing on my mobile.

      • jjdynomite

        Dan, thanks for the Shamsports tip. Also, since you are knowledgeable about these things, what would be your optimal annual salary structure for Lowry’s 4-year deal — that would obviously include his 4th year player opt-out — which would enable the Raptors to go big on a FA stud SF/PF for 2015-2016, given the upcoming cap space at the end of this season? (This is assuming KD re-ups with OKC by the end of 2015 as opposed to pulling a Kevin Love for 2015-2016).

        Of course, we are going to find this all out for reals on July 10. Just wondering how you would do it.

        • DanH

          Hey great question! I posted my answer to this unprompted above just before reading your comment, so good timing! 12M, 11.1M, 12M, 12.9M is the structure that maximizes room for next summer.

          • LuckyMystery

            I was thinking it would probably be 11 – 11.5 – 12.5 – 13

            • DanH

              That would be fine, although it frees up less cap space next year than my idea does, which was the point of the exercise.

              Also, the structure you suggest is illegal. The highest raise allowed with a base salary of 11M is 800k or so – from year 2 to 3 you have a raise of 1M.

              • Chewwy No Matthew

                Great post DanH. It is amazing that Fields will still make more than Patterson, even with 2Pat getting a new deal. Wow!

  • BramptonCanadianProspects

    i dont know why we signed hansborough? we should of put him in a package with novak and lou will. They dont fit well with the raptors tbh….. they will fit great with another team though forsure just not this one.

    • Sam

      Hansbrough was probably signed as a contingency for losing Patterson
      and if Amir’s ankles get worse (he’s not getting surgery, opting for
      rehab). Not a great plan b, but he provided value last year.

      • DanH

        Plus, small expiring contracts like his can be invaluable at the deadline as top teams look for help for their playoff runs. Might be able to swap him into a TPE for a pick or prospect.

  • BlakeMurphy

    Not included in here: DeAndre Daniels, who is reportedly headed to Europe.

    • DanH

      Not sure that’s confirmed yet. Ujiri said he’d get a shot to show what he’s got in SL, then MAY end up overseas for the year. Wolstat in his piece in the Sun appears to just be referencing Ujiri’s post draft conference.

    • LuckyMystery

      Wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in the D league so the Raps can monitor him this year. It will be very interesting to see if any of these guys make the decisions even harder on the raps

  • DL1119

    up next: get rid of Field’s contract.

    • webfeat

      Or just let it expire. I don’t relish the thought of what the raps would have to give up to trade Fields.

      • DanH

        Yep. We’ve got 28M in expiring contracts this year. Loads of cap room next summer.

        • DL1119

          HERE. WE. GO!!!

          • DanH

            Not Durant probably, as he doesn’t go to free agency until the year after (when JV and Ross get their big raises, as does DD when he opts out). Love might be a target. Paul Millsap. Rondo. Brook Lopez could opt out. West and Hibbert could opt out. Marc Gasol. Thad Young could opt out. LaMarcus Aldridge. Wes Matthews. Kawhi Leonard will be a RFA. Enes Kanter and Alec Burks will be RFA as well.

            • jjdynomite

              Here’s a comprehensive list of RFAs and UFAs for this summer/year and next (I love how the only decent player the Raps may lose next season is Amir; the rest are scrubs):


              Marc Gasol would be fantastic; he turns just 30 in January, and a multicultural city like T-Dot could appeal to him after years in the Memphis wilderness. We already know he can play with another low post stud like Z-Bo; why not bring him on to mentor JV to all his glory (and Bebe to a lesser extent).

              Plus a twin towers line-up of Marc and JV can mask the fact that DD and T-Ross are undersized at SF.

              • Chewwy No Matthew

                It is amazing how pathetic some of these overpaid players are. Hayes is awful. Fields is a complete joke.

  • jvubb

    What about trying to sign Gerrald Wallace as a stop gap SF in exchange for Novak/expiring and the celtics sending us a young player or draft pick with Wallace. This solves the SF until the big 2016 splash if that is the goal.

    • jjdynomite

      Here are Gerald Wallace’s career stats:

      Now you tell me whether his steep decline in his age 30 and 31 seasons is worth $10.1 million for each of the next two years (his age 32 and 33 seasons) in the faint hope, er, calculated strategy, that Drake and Greivis can bring KD to Toronto. This is likely the opposite of Masai’s strategy.

  • mikekosic

    Shrug Smith should be ashamed of himself. This is great writing and analysis.

  • funny_bone

    i know you guys are going to be all over me with the simplicity of this question however….what is stopping the raps from going after a Deng like player/contract? Is it against the CBA to sign anyone that will get you over the cap or is it simply that the MLSE does not what the financial (money) implications that comes with going over the cap?

    • noname

      you can only go over the cap if you are signing a free agent of your own (Bird rights) or if you are using an exception…so we financially can’t unless we find a way to trade fields.

  • duke

    Great post. My only comment is I always heard Fields contract paid him $8.5mm in 2014-2015 and above states 6.25mm? Can someone confirm.

    • Chewwy No Matthew

      I have heard the same thing. Some sites have it as 8.5 and others at the 6.2 listed in this piece. Regardless, it is a brutal contract and Colangelo should be ashamed of it. First of all, he should be ashamed at how much he gave Fields. Secondly, he should be embarrassed because he did it to keep the Knicks from getting Steve Nash. Add the fact that Colangelo was the only person on this earth who did n’t seem to figure out that Bosh was never coming back, adds to his legacy of ineptitude. Oh yeah and the constant refusal to trade Bargnani. Oh wait, and always adding a draft pick of ours to every trade. Amazing.

  • jjdynomite

    2Pat signed. 3 years, $6 mil per. Woot!

  • SaskRapsFan

    Raptors sign patterson for 3 yrs 18 mill. 🙂 or at least that’s why my score app told me

    • jjvub

      What do people think of the signing cap value wise. I like 3 years but don’t know how competitive the salary is. Also let’s update our cap situation regarding vasquez and left over $$ to acquire a big and SF

      • SaskRapsFan

        In the above scenario they suggest that patterson could be penciled in Vasquez’s spot. Which is slotted for 5 mil. If I follow this post correctly our new numbers would be 69.2 mill with the luxury at 77

  • LuckyMystery

    They just signed Patterson 3 years 18

  • Yiga Phuntsok

    get rid of de colo, not worth it now that we have lou

  • Pingback: Kyle Lowry, Patrick Patterson Re-Sign With Toronto Raptors()

  • Pingback: Toronto Raptors Salary Cap Update – Post-Patterson Signing, Novak Trade | Raptors Republic: ESPN TrueHoop Network Blog()

  • Pingback: My Homepage()

  • Pingback: Toronto Raptors Salary Cap Review – Post-Lowry Signing | Blake Murphy Sports Writing()