Here's a quick look at where the Raptors sit going into free agency this summer after the draft and Salmons trade.
DeMar DeRozan $9,500,000
Amir Johnson $7,000,000 (5 M guaranteed)
Landry Fields $6,250,000
Chuck Hayes $5,958,750
Lou Williams $5,450,000
Steve Novak $3,445,947
Jonas Valanciunas $3,678,360
Tyler Hansbrough $3,326,235 (fully guaranteed now)
Terrence Ross $2,793,960
Julyan Stone $948,163 (unguaranteed until 7th July)
Dwight Buycks $816,482 (unguaranteed until 22nd July)
Marcus Camby Buyout $646,609
Kyle Lowry $9,315,000 (cap hold)
Patrick Patterson $7,763,253 (cap hold; $4,319,474 QO)
Greivis Vasquez $5,375,470 (cap hold; $3,203,780 QO)
Nando de Colo $1,901,900 (cap hold; $1,828,750 QO)
BeBe Nogueira $1,419,200 (cap hold, probably signs for $1,703,040)
Bruno Caboclo $1,215,300 (cap hold, probably signs for $1,458,360)
Above roster, with all free agents released (except draft picks), and Stone and Buycks waived: $51,718,597
With cap holds, well over cap (77M range).
Cap: 63.2 M
Tax: 77.0 M
Apron/Hard Cap: 81.0 M
So, the numbers above paint a not so pretty picture of the cap situation. The Raps can have about 11.1M in cap space if they let Lowry et al walk. Of course, they won't do that. At this point we are looking at trying to keep team salary below the tax.
So the Raptors are looking likely to be a) over the cap and b) slightly under the tax, so that leaves them with their exceptions.
A) Mid-Level Exception. Starts at 5.3M, 4.5% raises for a total of $22.7M over 4 years. Can be split between multiple free agents.
B) Bi-Annual Exception. Starts at 2.1M, 4.5% raises for a total of $4.2M over 2 years. Can be split between multiple free agents (no real benefit to it though).
C) Veteran Exception. Any player can be signed to the vet minimum, for 1 or 2 years. If they are signed for 1 year, they count only as the 2nd year vet salary (0.9M). If they are signed for 2 years, they count for their actual minimum salary for their experience (say, a 10 year vet counts for 1.4M).
The concern is that with the above breakdown, if you want to use the full MLE and bring back Lowry, Patterson, Vasquez and de Colo, and possibly sign Daniels to a minimum deal, you only have 25M to do so before hitting the tax. If you assume 10M for Lowry, 5M each for Vasquez and Patterson, 2M for de Colo and 500k for Daniels, and 5.3M for the MLE, that adds up to 27.8M - so something has to give there.
Finally, something to consider for acquisitions this summer. Next summer is going to be big for the Raptors. They have several contracts ready to expire (particularly, Fields, Amir, Williams and Hayes for a combined 24M coming off the books), and look to have significant (around 10M) cap space, even with our free agents coming back this summer, depending on the deals they sign. They could be looking at having a core of Lowry, DD, Ross, JV, Patterson, GV, Bruno, BeBe and 2015 draft pick locked in and still have that cap space to play with in adding a big name. But signing players to multiple year deals with the MLE or bi-annual exception will eat into that cap space, so care needs to be taken this summer.