There is an update to this post — to take into account the Jason Kapono-Reggie Evans trade and a better knowledge of what slot the Raptors will draft at this summer.
Let’s start off by looking at who is currently on the Raptors books for next season.
Here are the contracts over five million dollars
- Chris Bosh — $15.8mil
- Jose Calderon — $8.22mil
- Andrea Bargnani — $6.53mil
- Jason Kapono — $6.21mil
That totals $36.8 million spread across four players. Bargnani will be entering the final year of his contract in 2009, while Bosh has a player option following the 2009/10 season and is expected to opt out. Kapono has another season following the next one, and Calderon has four years left on his deal.
Now let’s have a look at the rest of their contracts
- Marcus Banks — $4.55mil
- Kris Humphries — $2.9mil
- Roko Ukic — $1.35mil
- Nathan Jawai — $740k
These contracts add up a little over $11.55 million. Jawai will be entering the final season of his contract, but the three others who total $10.8mil will all be on the books in 2010.
That brings the Raptors total up to $46.3mil for 8 players.
- It now appears very likely that the Raptors will have a lottery pick in the 2009 draft, a pick which is very likely to be in the bottom half of the lottery. It’s too early to say how much that pick will be paid because we don’t know where exactly the Raptors will land in the lottery. Right now it looks like they’ll get the eight pick, who would be paid a contract worth around $2.4mil per annum.
- There is a roster charge for the three open slots amounting to $1.425mil
- There’s also a cap hold on Joey Graham but I am not going to count that against these Raptors for the time being. That cap hold would be a smudge less than $7.5mil, and just large enough to take away the Raptors entire cap space. Anyway, it’s largely immaterial because the Raptors would have to rescind the rights to several players including Graham to get to their best cap figure — they quite simply will not rescind the rights to Joey Graham in order to create an improved cap situation, without also rescinding their rights to Shawn Marion. Once again, this figure is not included in the number just below.
That extra $3.825 million takes the Raptors up to a final total of $50.125 million.
We don’t know where the cap will end up being.
- If it holds steady, it’ll be at $58mil.
- If it increases it could go up to $60mil but that is the most unlikely of the three possibilities.
- If it decreases, then the cap could fall to say $56mil which is a figure which has been mentioned in some press stories. This is the most likely event, but holding steady is also a strong possibility.
Raptors Cap Space
So if the cap holds steady, the Raptors will have $7.875mil to spend. If the cap decreases to the $56mil mark, then the Raptors would be left with a equivalent of the MLE to spend.
Raptors Free Agent Targets
It appears the Raptors first choice plan is to re-sign Shawn Marion and a few other of their free agents – some combination of Anthony Parker, Carlos Delfino, Joey Graham. This plan would give the Raptors the best chance at building some immediate depth at the club.
Are there any better alternatives? Sure. This question needs to be phrased differently.
Are there any better options in how the Raptors can spend their cap space this summer? Ehh, I doubt it.
- Here’s a link to a 2009 Free Agent List to help give us some ideas
- Also, let’s be hopeful and say the cap holds steady because this series of posts is only interested in contracts above the MLE, since the MLE puts the Raptors in the same boat as 20 other teams.
- Colangelo seems committed to building around a core of Bosh, Bargnani and Calderon. He would need to part ways with one of these players to make it worthwhile to sign either a point guard or a big man. Obviously if he’s willing to do so, that opens up a lot more options for the Raptors. However, until he shows that intent, let’s assume he’s looking for a wing to go along with his core.
- So you’re looking for a player from this group — Shawn Marion, Ron Artest, Trevor Ariza, Marvin Williams, Linas Kleiza.
Remember, if the Raptors choose to jettison Shawn Marion and spend their cap space on someone else, they would also surely lose the following — Anthony Parker, Joey Graham and Carlos Delfino.
So the option of re-signing Marion, should be considered Marion plus potentially those three plus the possible use of the MLE against the one $7.5mil signing. In that light, is a Ron Artest worth losing those four players and the MLE? No, not at all, especially since Ron-Ron isn’t a dependable building block and the Raptors have a long difficult road ahead of them.
Therefore, the Raptors best option is to re-sign Marion and considering re-signing some of their other wings? No, but it’s their best play if they choose to spend their cap space this summer.