Immanuel Quickley will be a Raptor, but for how much?

It's money making time.

Ahh yes, the economics of basketball. Competing conceptions of value. Seeing through the numbers, seeing past them, looking at them deeply – all of that stuff. Moneyball etc. etc.

As we all know, the Raptors made a huge decision to trade OG Anunoby (and Precious Achiuwa & Malachi Flynn) and jumpstarted their rebuild with that decision. RJ Barrett came back in that trade and he’s comfortably under contract so we don’t have to consider much there — unless you’re doing roster building hypotheticals, then go nuts — but Immanuel Quickley is a restricted free agent, so we have things to consider.

The considerations, basically: How much would you pay Immanuel Quickley if you’re the Raptors and you get to negotiate 1-on-1? Additionally, how much would you pay him while matching a contract that another team offers him? It’s all very important.

There was potential, at the beginning of Quickley’s tenure in Toronto, for him to blast off into stardom with the freedom that came with a starring role with the Raptors. However, while Quickley didn’t disappoint, he probably didn’t wildly change expectations for his future, or his expected market in free agency. If you view Quickley as a future star at the guard position, that’s all well and good, but I feel very confident saying that he doesn’t have any objective markers that suggest that is the case. He can always prove that stuff wrong, but prospective teams will be offering from that point of view.

Let’s kind of set the scene of what guards are making right now.

Desmond Bane, CJ McCollum, Jamal Murray, Jordan Poole & Tyler Herro are the only guards making 30M+ AAV on their contracts that haven’t made an All-Star game.

Bane was signed with the expectation that he would be an All-Star in the future and his game would keep growing, and his performance may well have netted him an AS nod if the Grizzlies had been good this season. He might make it next year. McCollum’s skillset was rare for a Pelicans team that desperately needed him, wanted to try and contend, and saw a lot of its rotation made up by very team friendly contracts – plus it was a 2-yr extension and low risk. Jamal Murray was expected to have AS upside, only it hasn’t manifested in regular season accolades, but playoff ones. He’s had to rehab from an ACL tear, and he’s a perfect symbiotic fit with Jokic. He’s elite for spurts at a time. Jordan Poole, woof, yeah. Tyler Herro, I’m not sure I see the AS upside, but this was the first year of his contract and it isn’t egregious for his production – also, the Heat have been making deep playoff runs and had been in a position to pay and retain guys.

Bane is perceived by most as a better player than Quickley. The McCollum deal is a bit of an outlier. The collection of Herro, Poole, and RJ Barrett (whose contract is the cheapest by a bit) extensions all came in the same period of time and were all critiqued fairly heavily, even with the context being acknowledged, and with all of the signing extensions much younger than Quickley – with expected improvement baked in to the price, which might not be how Quickley is treated at 25 years old. Murray is perhaps the closest comparison point with him signing on next to an All-Star and foundational player (Jokic). However, Jokic had already been top-5 in MVP voting at that point — although here’s hoping Scottie gets there — and Murray signed his extension at 21 years old, not 25.

Because the Raptors aren’t in a contention window, seem fairly flexible, and don’t really compete for marquee free agents, they can definitely overpay to keep the talent home, which they’ve done in the past quite often. However, outside of another team getting really frisky with a big offer — north of 30M would be a bit surprising — It’s tough to see a way that Quickley’s team can argue for those dollars. I think it’s most likely that Quickley’s AAV will be less than 30M.

The space between 20M & 30M — where Quickley should land — has a wide array of players. You can find Jalen Brunson at 26M AAV here — who actually isn’t a bad statistical comp to Quickley while in Dallas, although their games are much different and Quickley doesn’t have a good playoff run to bolster him — and you can even find Bruce Brown, the Raptor. Dejounte Murray is here, Terry Rozier is here, Buddy Hield is here and expiring, and Devin Vassell is here.

It’s easy to see Quickley providing a similar level of impact or better than quite a few players in this grouping. Without getting into a statistical analysis, I’ll have a bit of fun and rank the 9 guards who sit between 20M & 30M over the next handful of years – plus Quickley, and excluding Bruce Brown, because I’m not sure his team option will be accepted.

  1. Jalen Brunson – 4th highest paid (26M)
  2. Devin Vassell (I really like Vassell) – 2nd highest paid (27M)
  3. Immanuel Quickley – TBD
  4. Dejounte Murray – highest paid (28.5M)
  5. Anfernee Simons – 5th highest paid (25M)
  6. RJ Barrett – 3rd highest paid (26.7M)
  7. Josh Hart – 8th highest paid (20.2M)
  8. Malcolm Brogdon – 7th highest paid (22.5M)
  9. Terry Rozier – 6th highest paid (24M)
  10. Lonzo Ball (injuries suck) – 10th highest paid (20M)

Let me know your rankings in the comments, I’d be very interested to see.

Now, my rankings don’t matter and I haven’t polled any executives to see if they think similarly. However, all I wanted to do was layout the market and where I think Quickley lands in it.

The time is here, let’s predict.

I think Quickley will sign a 4-year extension worth 110M dollars. Happy to be wrong going in either direction.

Have a blessed day.