Raps in a world of hurt
By FRANK ZICARELLI, Toronto Sun

Last Updated: June 30, 2010 12:32am

As much as the Raptors want Amir Johnson and could use his athleticism, energy and defence, Johnson is in line to cash in and the Raptors arenít exactly loaded with cap space.
25. How long must a player be with one team before the Larry Bird exception can be used?

The basic idea is that a player must play for the same team for three seasons for his team to gain Bird rights (two seasons for Early Bird rights). It can be a single three-year contract, a series of three one-year contracts, or any combination that adds up to three seasons (two for Early Bird). However there are a number of complications:

* When a player is traded, his new team inherits his Bird rights. For example, if a player signs a three-year contract, plays two and a half seasons with that team, and is traded at the trade deadline in the third season, then his new team owns full Bird rights following the third season.
* The player must complete his contract immediately prior to becoming a free agent, which essentially means he can't have been waived. If he signs a series of contracts, then this only applies to the last contract. If a team signs a player and waives him after one game, signs and waives him after one game again the next year, and in the third year signs him and keeps him the entire season, then they will have full Bird rights following the third season.


27. Does the Larry Bird exception mean that free agents can be signed and not count against the cap?

All salaries are included in team salary (and count against the cap). The Bird exception simply says a team can exceed the cap to sign certain players. The new salary applies toward the team salary just like the salaries of the team's other players. So if a team is over the cap and uses the Bird exception to re-sign its own free agent, it will end up farther over the cap.

http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#Q25


Updated: July 12, 2007, 9:03 PM ET
Sources: Pistons, forward Johnson agree to 3-year deal

Restricted free-agent forward Amir Johnson has agreed to re-sign with the Detroit Pistons for an estimated $12 million over three years, NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com on Thursday.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2934290

Conclusion: The Raptors hold Johnson's Bird Rights therefore cap space is not an issue in resigning him. As I have posted previously cap space issue might only come into play if a team wants to sign free agents that they do not hold the Bird Rights to. The only way that the signing of a free agent that a team holds the Bird Rights to affects their cap situation is if they sign that player before they sign other free agents.

That would then impact and reduce the amount of money that a team had left to sign other free agents. If the signing of the player with Bird Rights takes a team over the Salary Cap then the only way that they can sign other free agents is by using one of the myriad of "Exemptions" that the NBA provides like the MLE, Bi-Annual etc available to sign other players.

However, cap space limitations do not affect the ability of a team to sign any free agent of which they hold that player's Bird Rights

Since the Raptors hold Johnson's Bird Rights his signing by the Raptors is not impacted by the Raptors cap space situation.

Does Zicarelli get paid to write for the Toronto Sun?