A Look at Raptors' Current Salary Cap Situation

Jose Calderon may still need to be amnestied if the Raptors want to upgrade other positions.


With the recent moves in Raptorland, RaptorsForum contributor and HQ reader Daniel Hackett takes a look at Toronto's salary cap situation...

Free agency always brings rumours swirling about using up all that precious cap space. The question is - how much do the Raptors actually have, depending on what moves they make? Especially interesting after Jerryd Bayless' qualifying offer was rescinded.

Let's take a look.

Jose Calderon $10,561,982
Andrea Bargnani $10,000,000
Landry Fields $6,333,333 (assumed 19M total)
Amir Johnson $6,050,000
Kyle Lowry $5,750,000
Linas Kleiza $4,600,000
DeMar DeRozan $3,344,250
Jonas Valanciunas $2,812,200
James Johnson $2,812,006
Ed Davis $2,207,040
Terrence Ross $2,136,100
Sonny Weems $1,059,389 cap hold/QO


Total: $57,666,300 - 0.3M cap space

Salary Cap: $58 million
Tax Threshold: $70 million

Seems like right now, the Raps couldn't sign Fields to the offer they were going to, without losing Bayless. Let alone sign any free agents. So, trades could free up some space, but that's a total unknown. For now let's look at the impact of amnestying (or trading into cap space) some of the higher paid players on the team.

Amnesty candidates and resultant cap space:

Jose: 10.4M
Bargnani: 9.9M
Amir: 5.9M
Kleiza: 4.5M

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As a note before we go further, the rules about roster slots are somewhat important going forward. The team must have 13 players on the roster at the start of the season. This plays into their cap space. If a team has less than 13 players, each "open" slot carries a cap hold for the minimum salary. If you have the rights to a player, that can replace a "roster slot" cap hold, but always takes up more cap space. Now, with the new "Room MLE" that allows teams to go over the cap after using cap space, the 13th roster slot cap hold is replaced by the MLE - and as such takes up no cap room. Also, note that when you sign a free agent, you simultaneously eliminate one "roster slot" cap hold - as such, you can offer a salary to that player that is slightly higher (by about 473k; the minimum salary) than your cap space if you have less than 12 players on your roster.

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So. How much cap space can be freed up via amnesty to be able to re-sign Bayless, should the Raptors choose to still pursue him, or sign another free agent? Jose being amnestied (with the Lowry trade, and the Fields deal) frees up 10.1 million in cap space (bringing the team to 10.4M). This is by no means a home run, with Bayless likely gone, but it is the single biggest cap saver, so we'll use it going forward. The 10.1M is less than his actual salary as his cap hit is replaced by a "roster slot" cap hold, as the roster would then be down to 11 players. But what other cap space can we free up?

This is where the expendability of Sonny Weems comes into play. If Sonny's QO is rescinded (or he is S+T'd with nothing coming back), his cap hold gets replaced with a "roster slot" cap hold. So you immediately replace the ~$1 million you have tied up in Sonny with a minimum salary cap hold (0.5M), and have just over 11.0 million in cap space.

This shows that the team can indeed free up enough cash to offer a contract of 10-12 million dollars annually to a free agent of their choosing. Or, to absorb salary in a trade. This would be enough to make a competitive offer to an Ilyasova, Mayo, etc, or absorb a decent chunk of salary in a trade.

So, given that, what would the team's salary look like this offseason if these moves go through?

Andrea Bargnani $10,000,000
Landry Fields $6,333,333
Amir Johnson $6,050,000
Kyle Lowry $5,750,000
Linas Kleiza $4,600,000
DeMar DeRozan $3,344,250
Jonas Valanciunas $2,812,200
James Johnson $2,812,006
Ed Davis $2,207,040
Terrence Ross $2,136,100
Quincy Acy $473,604
Added with Cap Space $11,481,467 (473k higher than I noted above, as I explained above)
Added with Room MLE $2,575,000

Total: $58,000,000 plus Room MLE

There's your 13 players. For those wondering about Quincy Acy, second round picks do not count against the cap until they are signed. As such, after all these moves are made, he can be signed with the minimum salary exception (as most second rounders are) as the Room MLE appears to be going to Aaron Gray. For purposes of this compare I have included Acty at the minimum, since there would be a cap hold there for the roster spot anyways.

Gray, as things stand, will be signed using the Room MLE. He'll be signed last, after the moves involving the cap space, so won't impact any of the amnesty possibilities I outlined. If the amnesty is used or a trade happens, it is possible Gray signs for more, but for now, the Raptors have only the Room MLE (2.575 M starting salary) to offer.

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