My late-night two cents on the matter.

Late Wednesday night, it was reported that the Toronto Raptors and point guard http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2014/07/10/3-reasons-greivis-vasquez-deal-makes-sense/Greivis Vasquez had agreed upon a 2-year, $13 million deal. From all accounts, it appears both years of will be fully guaranteed.

For critics of the move, resource allocation is the sticking point. Generally speaking, paying $6.5 million to the backup point guard isn’t good asset management, especially when he has a solid incumbent ahead of him in the lineup. With many other weaknesses on the roster, it could be argued that the Raptors’ limited resources should have been allocated elsewhere. With respect to that line of thinking, I really see no argument. It’s a lot of money.

There’s also the perspective that Vasquez’s play, onto itself, is not worth the money. Again, that’s not something I necessarily want to argue against either. While it’s true that Vasquez is a solid player, I doubt his on-court production dictates a lavish figure of $6.5 million. Vasquez posted a career high true-shooting percentage last season, yet his assist numbers dropped (which makes sense given the change in role), which yielded a league-average PER of 14. $6.5 million is a lot to pay for league average production, especially considering Vasquez’ play is likely worse than his PER given his defensive shortcomings.

But I do think this deal made sense for the Raptors. Here are three reasons.

1. He’s great in two-point-guard lineups with Lowry

This should be evident to whomever watched the Raptors’ playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets. With the Nets’ choosing to aggressively blitz pick-and-rolls, Vasquez’ ability to serve as a secondary ball-handler in 2PG lineups was the only counter the Raptors’ had. During the regular season, the two-man combo of Lowry and Vasquez posted a team-best +17.6 points per 100 possessions.

In part, the reason why the pairing works is because Lowry and Vasquez have complementary skills. Vasquez is taller, standing at 6-foot-6, which allows him to more easily thwart blitzing pick-and-roll coverages as he can pass over-top bigger defenders. It also works well because the two are both good ball-handler capable of driving and shooting threes. With the help of an effective screen to start the action, Vasquez or Lowry always have the option of making a point-wing pass to the other to set up one-on-one scenarios off the bounce. Ball-handling and therefore attacking off the dribble was something the Raptors’ lacked. Vasquez fills that need.

2. It’s a player, not a car

There’s a fallacy in the way some fans assess transactions in the NBA. It’s different from any other market.

For example, consider the purchase of a car. For the most part, you look around at various websites, you visit dealerships, you weigh pros and cons and ultimately, you take the best deal on the table. That’s how the marketplace works, where competition leads to an optimal outcome.

The player market isn’t nearly as abstract. It’s different because they’re less interchangeable. Some fundamental aspects are the same, in that you do your due diligence, look up his stats, watch some film, talk to his coaches, and make an informed decision, but for the most part, there’s only one player that really fits each need. Every car can drive you to work. Not every player can fit on your team.

It can be argued that for the price, Vasquez isn’t the best fit. But considering his play last season, especially down the stretch when his health improved, it’s hard to argue that an upgrade could have come elsewhere, especially considering the Raptors were already over the cap. If Vasquez was let go, the money for his replacement would have come out of the exceptions, or via trade, both of which could have cost more. Essentially, the opportunity cost (what the Raptors are giving up) in retaining Vasquez was likely lower than any other option, and so they kept him.

3. Need vs. Luxury

Strictly speaking, the Raptors didn’t need to reinforce a position of strength. With Lou Williams and Kyle Lowry in place, next year’s team didn’t need any help at the point. Williams can handle the ball, and is a decent creator when pressed into duty. He’s a good option for 10 minutes a game at the point, which is really all he needed to provide with Lowry soaking up 32, and a third-string guy taking 6. The Raptors’ didn’t even need more help at the two, as DeMar DeRozan is a minute-sponge, ranking third in total minutes played last season. Plus, Williams can also play the two as well, albeit he’s undersized. There wasn’t a pressing need for Vasquez on the roster.

In that regard, Vasquez is a luxury, but luxuries aren’t bad. Not only does he provide an upgrade at the point and an alternative look with 2PG lineups, Vasquez also provides depth, both in terms of the team’s style of play and as injury insurance.

First, Vasquez gives the team a different look. Lowry and Williams are both great ball-handlers, but they’re undersized. Vasquez counters that dynamic by being big, while being able to handle the ball. Similarly, at the two, DeRozan is bigger, but can’t consistently hit threes and his handles are somewhat limited. Again, Vasquez provides a different look. It gives Casey more options and more counters to throw at opposing defenses.

And second, it’s good to have more depth on the roster as a hedge against injury. Lowry was great last season, but an under-appreciated aspect of achievements was his ability to avoid injury. With his hard-nosed style of play — driving into the paint, creating contact, drawing charges — Lowry is liable to get injured, and if he were ever to go down, the Raptors’ have a contingency plan in Vasquez, who can hold down the fort for stretches at a time.

To recap, the deal wasn’t necessarily good, nor bad. In the abstract, it’s an overpay for Vasquez’s abilities, but he fits a number of needs for the franchise, and serves as insurance. Like most transactions made by Ujiri, there was some good sense behind it.

  • Taattzz

    We need a big wing now asap and were ready for the season ! Team Bruno for Roy!!!!

    • LuckyMystery

      Rumor is they just signed James JOhnson

  • Thomas Smith

    The Raptors wanted to build on what they accomplished last year. They expect to win 50 games next season ahead of showcasing the city on All Star Weekend 2016. Potential free agents might take notice.

  • troopa

    Vasquez probably generated a higher buzz for a higher contract because even though he loved Toronto he ultimately wanted to be a starter. So for masai talking him into staying coming off the bech he had to give him a better contract. But for 2 years…I can definitely live with that after the showing of last year and his desire to win and luv for the city

  • GoingBig

    “Lowry and Vasquez have complimentary skills”
    That’s “complementary”

    There is no I in team or complementary
    /homonym nazi

    • DC

      homophones, not homonyms

    • DDayLewis

      Goddamnit I get tripped up on that every time. Thanks grammar man

  • DanH

    4th reason – if all our free agent re-signing deals are back loaded, we now have room for the MLE and a vet min deal before hitting the tax.

  • mountio

    Hmmm. While Im glad we got him back, it does feel like the Vince years where we are overpaying to bring back marginal players and while doing so, hurting our flexibility. I like the 2 years, but 6.5 seems rich.
    If, as DanH suggests, we still have room for the MLE and vet min after this, then I guess no real harm … but still seems rich.
    Bottom line, pressure is now squarely on JV and TR, because those guys are the only way this team can take it to the next level. Of course, I expect DD and KL to play well again .. but that just helps us stand still. To improve, it has to be on the young guys …

    • 2damkule

      the players being brought back now who you’re referring to as ‘marginal’ (I assume that includes just PP & vasquez, as KLOE is anything but marginal) are actually quite different, as both are in the prime of their careers.

      • mountio

        Yes, PP and GV. Im not saying I dont like them, but whether or not they are in the prime of their career, I describe any bench player on a middle of the road playoff team as marginal – not sure how you can describe them otherwise. Im comparing them to Alvin Williams, Antonio Davis and others in the Vince days.
        The point isnt that they are bad players, its that if you put a lot of dollars to guys who arent difference makers, you end up not having room to sign the true stars in the league.

        • 2damkule

          yes, but as shocking as it is, what they’re making is the (new) going rate for quality (and in some cases, shitty) bench players. go through the rosters of the teams in the L, and count how many starters not on rookie scale contracts are making less than $8M/yr.

    • afrocarter

      How has the team’s flexibility been compromised exactly?

      • mountio

        While, to start, we now have $12.5 mm locked up next year in PP and GV that we could have used, along with the $16-$17 mm coming off the books from LF, CH and LW to chase marquee free agents. Not sure who will be out there, and who we would want .. but these deals hurt that flexibility.
        Even if you compare to signing the at what we might have hoped for (ie $4-5 mm), that’s an additional $3-$4 mm to throw onto new contracts

        • afrocarter

          So you would rather not have signed our free agents this summer for the chance to sign free agents next summer?

          • mountio

            No, id rather sign them for what they are worth ($4-$5 mm) vs overpaying them.

            • afrocarter

              Well if you manage to figure out a way to not overpay an RFA, feel free to clue Masai in.

            • afrocarter

              I see what you’re saying, though; there’s a big difference between being $16-17 mill under the cap and $19-$20 mil under the cap.

              • 2damkule

                i disagree wholeheartedly, there’s virtually no difference at all, because if it comes down to being able to sign a player to the max, then that player is good enough that making ancillary moves to make it happen is a no-brainer. there are ALWAYS teams willing to take on a contract in exchange for nothing in salary coming back, if it means that team can pick up a draft pick or can waive the incoming player & clear them off the books, and we see it happen all the time. if the raps are actually in a position to sign a max-value FA, a couple million in cap space won’t make a difference in the long run.

            • 2damkule

              worth isn’t necessarily what you think it is…i’d like them to be able to sign whoever they wanted for whatever they wanted, but that’s not how it works in the real world (as much as sports in general is ‘the real world’). let’s say ujiri sticks to his guns on what they’re worth (in his mind), and it’s a million bucks less per year than what the players think they’re worth…is it that much of a difference to risk losing those players, which means you then have to go out & try to fill a hole in your roster that you needlessly created, with ZERO guarantee that you’ll be able to do so in terms of quality of player OR actual money spent?

              • dunkmycat7

                “worth isn’t necessarily what you think it is”….maybe we are not so far apart in how we think..
                Since you seem to be quite well versed on the CBA cap/moneyball stuff could you please answer me this:
                -Say the Raps brought in another player that got them into the 1st level of the lux tax.(4,999,999 I think -please correct me if I am wrong)
                -Then later in the season at the deadline they dumped either CH or LF in a deal to some team that wanted an expiring contract and did not take back equal $.
                -That move gets them back BELOW the lux tax.
                -Do they still have to pay the tax, is it pro-rated for the time they were over, or is it if you are over for one second you are over and have to pay.How does it work ?

                • 2damkule

                  i believe there’s a deadline by which you have to be under the tax in order to not be a tax paying team…so, you can be over the tax during the season, but can get under it (as you’ve described) and avoid being a tax paying team. i think. the CBA is fucked, man.

                  http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm

                • dunkmycat7

                  Thank you and I do too.

            • noname

              ppat is not overpayed, but vaz is for only 2 years, and who knows if Masai isn’t open to trading vaz if need be.

    • noname

      They will improve alright…that I’m 99.9% sure of. How much is anyone’s guess. But now that we upgraded the center spot with Bebe (or will when he signs) and the backup 3 spot with James Johnson (wayyyy better than fields and salmons), I expect good improvement this year. And plus, we got a lot of financial flexibility in 2015 and 2016 which is where we can make some serious upgrades (which we may or may not need), and jump into serious championship contention (which could happen earlier than expected if the upgrades aren’t necessary.

  • Raptorfan

    Hahahahaha, MU apologist are hard at work to make this deal make sense. Grow a back bone my friend. It is OK to be critical of questionable moves. You are better than this.

    • MoPeteRules

      Except that it does make sense, I don’t know if you noticed but Vasquez signed a two year deal, whereas Lowry and Patterson both signed four year deals. Undoubtedly Vasquez wanted a longer deal (given his profound love for Toronto), but Masai wanted flexibility in 2015, hence slightly overpaying him to keep him satisfied. I know you’re blinded by your right to be critical of questionable moves, but I just thought I’d clarify in case a whole article dedicated to clarifying the signing didn’t do the trick.

      • asifyouknow

        Ah no..The reason for the 2 wear deal is that Vaz wanted to once again to be a starting PG … this deal gives him an opportunity to get a shot at it at 29 years old…So…. no he did not want a longer deal …

        • Matteemo

          I love how the guy who was consistently saying that neither Vasquez nor Lowry would be signing back with the Raps is still talking “asifheknows” what Vasquez really wants. #zero_credibility

          • MoPeteRules

            He should change his name to Jon_Snow, because “he knows nothing”.

            • asifyouknow

              No! I don’t make up my own reality as your homies do… :)

          • asifyouknow

            I’m not redoing that argument…..BUT ONE MORE TIME.

            My reasons were right on…NOBODY thought that MU would step up over 10 mill…NOBODY including many of you who NOW want to hide under a rock and act like you never said anything.

            At least I’m facing the music, even though I was right on my assessment.

            Again PAID main stream media were surprised at the Kyle deal. The reason I thought he would not come back was because NOBODY thought Toronto was going to pay that kind of money to a player with head problems who also is injury prone.

            End of story.

            As for Vaz just about EVERYBODY on this boards thought that 3.2 mill was the ticket and many said you just wanted the one year left, you know because many of you think the guy sucks. Your words not mime and I’ll post the name and multiple quote if you like.

            I’m my opinion MU overpaid both Kyle and Greivis, specially Lowry, for Christ sake Duncan and Parker play for 10 mill, are you kidding me, Kyle is no where near that neighborhood in talent, those are two first ballot hall of famers.
            Greivis got paid double of what most on this board folks thinking. True or false?
            Is he worth 6.5 mill? I’m a huge fan, but I thought in the back-up PG market he was a good 4 mill a year player .
            If any of you told me that you thought he would get 6.5 mill a year for two years I would not hesitate to call you a liar.
            Nobody thought he would get that kind of money. I thought someone would pay him 12 mill for three and he be going because the Raptors would not pay that and this is not Casey’s guy.
            Was I wrong ? obviously they both came back, but my assessment was right, they surprised all of us by paying too much money to those guys.
            Again most of you did not think they would pay that kind of money did you? That’s what I thought. We can at least agree on that.
            As always this is a fans opinion and from what I understand everybody has one and I thank god for that.
            Enough said.

        • DC

          You state your opinion as if it were fact. Your “facts” are often shown to be wrong! You wouldn’t look so bad if your statements weren’t so categorical.

        • noname

          he has said multiple times that he wants to spend the rest of his career here. So if he also really wants to be a starting point guard, he probably would’ve signed a 3 year deal so that if Lowry opts out (god forbid) he can show up and say he wants to return and be heralded for helping the the team in their moment of desperation, and take the starting point guard job. You see how farfetched things would’ve been if he really wanted to start that badly?

          I see that as the only way he would get it because I’m sure he won’t improve dramatically at age 27 to the point where he’s better than Lowry, and he should know this. And I’m also pretty sure he can’t predict the future and believe that Lowry will have a career-ending injury (again, god forbid), and I’m also pretty sure Vasquez isn’t crazy enough to try to purposely injure Lowry to take the spot.

          I personally think he is willing to be a bench player for the raptors because he loves the city and team, but on one condition, that Masai gives him short term financial security/prosperity with the promise of more to come in 2 years (a long term deal, most likely his last, at 3 or 4 years).

          If he really wanted a starting gig more than anything, he would’ve signed with the bucks by now. Why would he delay it 2 years?

          • asifyouknow

            NONAME QUOTE : “I’m also pretty sure Vasquez isn’t crazy enough to try to purposely injure Lowry to take the spot.” END QUOTE

            Seriously WHY would anybody even question that? !!! I used to think you were ok now I know your just as silly idiot….Who can come up with something like that? MAN get you some Prozac only a depressed man would say that…..

            • noname

              K I didn’t question that at all, I just like to account for absolutely everything (It’s an OCD thing). I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous, I really didn’t need to say it…my bad.

    • DDayLewis

      I’m critical about the move multiple times in the piece. Not sure what piece you read.

  • LuckyMystery

    Apparently the Raptors just signed James Johnson

    • afrocarter

      Yep. 2 yrs / $5 mil

      • King Jordy

        *2yrs / 2.5mil

        • noname

          2.5 mil per year…you didn’t read it right. It’s 2yrs/5mil

  • Homph Gomph

    Plus the dude is just the happiest man alive. Seriously he’s adorable.

  • Niagara_dude

    This is not a good price to pay for a good/average point guard, this is why we will never compete with other teams in major markets because we must overpay all of our players to stay here.Not seeing any improvements made with this team with the roster and even worst the lousy draft.This GM has everyone here in Toronto drinking the KOOL-AID and this team will struggle to make the playoffs.Sure these guys love Toronto, no other team would be giving Vasquez 6.5 MILLION a year as a back-up.I think 4.5 million would have been more then fair, you are now paying 18.5 million for the point guard position.

    • emanuel

      overpay?!?! look at the offer sheets that chandler parsons, and gordon hayward have signed. what ben gordon is getting paid, and what trevor ariza is likely to get paid. the raptors have two all star level players in lowry and derozon making 22 million combined, and kobe bryant is getting 24 million. now tell me who is overpaying in this league

      • Niagara_dude

        The Lakers paid that amount for the Kobe brand and now will pay for it over the next two seasons.There will be no real stars that will want to go to LA and play seconds to this guy.

        • emanuel

          yeah but what i’m getting at is that the raptors are not, on the whole, overpaying their players to stay here. sure vasquez’s deal is a little expensive, but it’s only for 2 years. no one disagrees that 4.5 million would be more fair, but i don’t think you fully understand how free agency signings work. i’ll clarify. the raptors, after signing lowry, are over the salary cap, but under the luxury tax. when you’re over the salary cap, you can’t simply sign free agents to any contract because you are over the cap, unless you have exceptions (mid-level being one that toronto possesses). however, you may resign your own free agents regardless of being over the salary cap without using your exceptions. thus, by resigning vasquez, toronto ensures they have a committed back up guard (who played well along side kyle lowry in the playoffs) without impacting their ability to still use their mid-level exception. yeah they could have offered him less, but clearly he didn’t want less, particularly with only a 2 year deal. and i’m confident he didn’t want less, because if he did, we wouldn’t be talking about this. that is why it makes sense to slightly over pay him, because if offers the team more flexibility in terms of signing other free agents (in this case, it was james johnson).

          • 2damkule

            exactly. paying gay & bargnani (had they still been here) a combined $34M for next year would have been an overpay; paying lowry, derozan, vazquez & PP that same combined amount? yeah, not so much.

    • DDayLewis

      Why would this team, which is a revamped version of last year’s team, struggle to make the playoffs? Because the Hornets and Wizards’ offseasons have been such great successes?

      • Niagara_dude

        That is what you think, we need the extra money and you do not pay your back-up point guard 6.5 million

        • DDayLewis

          As I pointed out in a comment above, the options were not to spend the money on a center, versus Vasquez. This deal was made using his bird rights. They still have the MLE to address the backup center.

          Had they not signed Vasquez, acquiring a backup point guard and center would have drawn from the same exception, barring a trade of some sort.

    • afrocarter

      “Internal development doesn’t exist!” — Niagara_dude

    • PRaps

      Vasquez is not a typical backup in that he backs up the 1 and 2, and so plays more minutes than traditional back ups, and has been effective in that role. so that’s got to be worth a tad more than avg backup PG $. many teams are paying $6 mil for back ups this summer…

  • Niagara_dude

    We reaily needed the money to sign a back-up center with real size (sorry Hayes but 6.6 does not do it).

    • DDayLewis

      That money didn’t really exist. Ujiri signed Vasquez with his bird rights. Had they not signed Vasquez, there wouldn’t be more cap room to sign a center. Plus, they still have part of the MLE left.

      • noname

        plus we got bebe.

  • Niagara_dude

    For those guys thinking that we did not overpay Vasquez then you have your head in the sand and also must think we made a great first round pick this year.This is about 2.5 million we could have used for a back-up center, Chuck Hayes blows and is no small and too slow.

    • 2damkule

      i think most people generally think that it is an overpay, but that it’s not so egregious that it’s worth the hand-wringing you’re doing. 4.5 per wasn’t going to happen, and if that was the offer, then gravy likely would have walked, at which point, you’re either going to go with louwill as your back-up PG, or pay that much (or more) for another PG on the FA market (and, newsflash, there aren’t a ton that are worth going after). there’s still money – even after signing johnson – to get a back-up big, if they decide to do so. you should probably wait until after the first official day of the offseason to end before finding a bridge to jump off because you think they (slightly) overpaid for a back-up PG.

    • asifyouknow

      Wow you hate everybody? LMAO

  • dunkmycat7

    I thought it was pretty smart of MU to sign these guys now and get tit done. When the big dominos start falling some of these teams are going to be very disappointed but will have tons of cap room. Then the price for players like PP and GV probably would have gone up and maybe significantly.
    And now that we have corned the market on guards and 3’s you have to think there is another move coming. The RAPS just don’t have the talent, size, or experience at the 4 and 5 and a plethora of the other stuff.

    • noname

      amir has experience and a decent amount of talent, JV has talent, is gaining experience, and still hasn’t reached his potential, 2pat is similar to JV, Bebe has potential, and hansbrough and hayes are good glue guys…so I don’t see your point. But I’ve read enough of your comments to know what you are talking about, and I personally don’t think we need to turn into a superteam à la Houston Rockets and Miami Heat. If we keep doing what we’re doing, we can be perennial contenders with championships to boot in the not so distant future, à la San Antonio Spurs.

      • dunkmycat7

        Except for JV they are all pretty much undersized and not nearly as talented as I would like. I’ll give you experienced.(except JV – but he’s a quick study and totally on it)
        Yes I’m all for the big move but even more so I’m about winning now.
        If anyone can make this team a la Spurs, MU can. But those Spurs have had a core of 3 VERY TALENTED players though out it all. Can JV D2 and KL be as good as their big 3 ?
        I hope so.

        • noname

          I believe so; but the key word here is patience. They’re not likely gonna win the chip this year…but I realistically see them making the ECF which is a great improvement for this year. And I don’t think 2Pat and Bebe are undersized for their positions (Pf and C, respectively).

          Edit: and plus, they don’t absolutely have to be as good as the spurs’ big 3. As long as we keep progressing until we start winning chips, we’re golden.

  • asifyouknow

    I’m not redoing that argument but since I’m getting lynched here…..ONE MORE TIME.

    My reasons were right on…NOBODY thought that MU would step up over 10 mill…NOBODY including many of you who NOW want to hide under a rock and act like you never said anything.

    At least I’m facing the music, even though I was right on my assessment.

    Again PAID main stream media were surprised at the Kyle deal. The reason I thought he would not come back was because NOBODY thought Toronto was going to pay that kind of money to a player who decided to play in his contract year with head problems who also is injury prone.

    End of story.

    As for Vaz just about EVERYBODY on this boards thought that 3.2 mill was the ticket and many said you just wanted the one year left, you know because many of you think the guy sucks. Your words not mine and I’ll post the name and multiple quote if you like.

    I’m my opinion MU overpaid both Kyle and Greivis, specially Lowry, for Christ sake Duncan and Parker play for 10 mill, are you kidding me, Kyle is no where near that neighborhood in talent, those are two first ballot hall of famers.

    Greivis got paid double of what most on this board were thinking. True or false?

    Is he worth 6.5 mill? I’m a huge fan, but I thought in the back-up PG market he was a good 4 mill a year player .

    If any of you told me that you thought he would get 6.5 mill a year for two years I would not hesitate to call you a liar.

    Nobody thought he would get that kind of money. I thought someone would pay him 12 mill for three and he be going because the Raptors would not pay that.

    Was I wrong ? obviously they both came back, but my assessment was right, they surprised all of us by paying too much money to those guys.

    Again most of you did not think they would pay that kind of money did you? That’s what I thought. We can at least agree on that.

    As always this is a fans opinion and from what I understand everybody has one and I thank God for that.

    Enough said.

    • emanuel

      i’m just going to repost something that has already been said:

      2damkule (2 hours ago):

      exactly. paying gay & bargnani (had they still been here) a combined $34M for next year would have been an overpay; paying lowry, derozan, vazquez & PP that same combined amount? yeah, not so much.

    • noname

      Lowry isn’t an overpay…there were rumours of him getting 14 mil per…now that’s an overpay.

  • IceManLikeGervin

    I can see the Raptors going with more Lowry/Williams backcourts than Lowry/Vasquez in 2014-15……if Williams is 100% recovered & healthy……….

    • noname

      maybe they’ll split the 2 guard lineup duty between the two.

    • asifyouknow

      yea …that is why they paid him 6.5 mill ..where do you people come up with this stuff? Comic books? lol

      • IceManLikeGervin

        Time will tell……

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