*I have been intending to make this post but no access to keyboard for last week so here goes as I have one at my finger tips now*
I've made no secret I like what the Raptors have done thus far this off season. In my opinion, the Raps are younger, deeper, and (most importantly) better than they were on April 26, 2012 (last day of season).
When looking at the roster, 2 things stand out: youth and money.
#1) Youth - players signed beyond 2012-13 (all ages as of December 31, 2012):
TOTAL: $46.628 in committed salaries for 2013-14 for 10 players.
DD: qualifying offer - $4.531m; cap hold - $10.03M
Raptors also hold amnesty that could be used on Bargnani, Kleiza, or Amir to free up nearly $5-$11m.
Cap Space: depends on what happens with DD, amnesty, and BRI split. Current salary cap is $58M. Lots of young players under contract and only $46.628M in committed salary - key (and dreaded) word is flexibility.
** assuming option picked up.
Assuming the Raptors do not make any significant additions in salary this summer or before trade deadline, Raps are likely to find themselves in a very similar situation next year:
- young and improving team
- cap flexibilty
People will likely groan (and rightfully so) because all this flexibility has gone for nothing thus far. 2 rays of hope:
1) new punitive tax starts in 2013-14 and might be last chance for a treadmill team (Grizz, Philly, whoever) or team going nowhere to unload contracts before more punitive tax kicks in,
2) luxury tax teams can no longer execute sign and trades after this summer (limited to $3m mini-MLE or minimum contracts).
Some things that do concern me:
1) Still no legit franchise talent (Bargnani, JV, or Ross please prove me wrong - or BC cash in some chips and get one!)
2) playoffs far from a certainty in 2012-13 but a bottom 10 team seems unlikely as well - worst case scenario, just miss the playoffs and lose a 12-14 pick.
My ultimate wet dream*:
1) trade for AI sooner than later,
2) when AI's contract comes off the books, sign Paul George as free agent.
*ultimate wet dream - let me dream in peace.
Putting it all together, things are not perfect but things are not near bad, in my opinion, either.