It's official: the Raptors are bringing the band back next year.
The all-seeing, all-knowing Adrian Wojnarowski announced that the Raptors have reached an agreement to sign back-up point-guard Greivis Vasquez to a 2-year, $13 million deal. Vasquez averaged 9 points and 3 assists per game last season with the Raptors, shooting 39% from 3-point range.
The first thing to note is the price: $6.5 million per year in a vacuum is expensive for a back-up point-guard -- it's more than Jarrett Jack, a player many people believe to be the best back-up point-guard in the league, is making. However, what makes this deal so palatable for the Raps is the term. At just two years, Vasquez's impact on the team's long-term flexibility is minimal. Vasquez will come off the cap by the summer of 2016 -- you know, when Kevin Durant signs in Toronto -- and if things don't work out, or an opportunity arises, the length of his contract makes him very tradeable.
It's likely that Vasquez was looking for a longer deal with the Raps, and the high salary was necessary compensation for the short length of the deal. Vasquez is essentially on a two-year audition, with a ton of incentive to perform well to secure a longer deal post-2016.
Financial considerations aside, it's worth emphasizing that Vasquez played a crucial role in a very successful Raptors season -- both from a production stand-point and chemistry-wise. Bringing him back was a priority for the franchise, especially considering his versatility -- he can run the point as a back-up and share the floor with Kyle Lowry, playing off the ball.
There are also legitimate concerns, considering his history, his size, and how hard he plays, about Lowry's health. If he goes down for any length of time, having a competent point-guard to steer the ship will be crucial.
Ultimately Ujiri is going to roll with this core group that played so well last season and see what they can do in the next two years. The Raptors have a ton of salary coming off the books next summer (Amir, Fields (thank god), Hansbrough, Hayes and Williams) and should have enough space to offer someone a max contract in the summer of 2016. Bringing last year's team back together has not sacrificed long-term flexibility.
Just don't sign Andray Blatche and it will have been a successful summer.