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A Look at the Raptors' Salary Situation as the Trade Deadline Approaches

As the trade deadline approahes, here's an update to the Raptors' salary cap situation for the rest of this season and next year.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

All salary information comes from Shamsports, supplemented by Basketball Insiders. For cap-related questions, CBA FAQ is the place to go, and I am of course happy to answer any questions in the comments below.

In the summer, I went over the salary cap situation the Raptors found themselves in, and what next summer would look like. I thought it would be a good idea to update that now, as the trade deadline approaches.

First, here are the Raptors' salaries as they stand right now.

Raptors Salaries 2014-15:

Kyle Lowry $12,000,000
DeMar DeRozan $10,100,000 (including $600,000 likely incentive)
Amir Johnson $7,050,000 (fully guaranteed, includes $50,000 unlikely incentive)
Greivis Vasquez $6,400,000
Landry Fields $6,250,000
Chuck Hayes $5,958,750
Patrick Patterson $5,831,326
Lou Williams $5,450,000
Jonas Valanciunas $3,678,360
Tyler Hansbrough $3,326,235
Terrence Ross $2,793,960
James Johnson $2,500,000
Lucas (Bebe) Nogueira $1,762,680
Bruno Caboclo $1,458,360
Greg Stiemsma $915,243 (actual pay $948,163, fully guaranteed)
Marcus Camby $646,609 (buyout)
Jordan Hamilton $25,000 (buyout)
Will Cherry $25,000 (buyout)

Nando de Colo $1,901,900 (cap hold; $1,828,750 qualifying offer)

Above roster, with NDC overseas: $76,171,523

League Levels:

Cap: $63.035 million
Tax: $76.829 million
Apron/Hard Cap: $80.829 million

The Raptors are right up against the tax, with about $650,000 of cushion. One thing to note: DeMar will not be receiving his incentive as he did not make the All-Star team. As such, we can consider that they have $600,000 additional cushion for tax purposes, if we are thinking purely about whether they pay tax at the end of the year. But for now, that incentive remains on the cap (recalculations of salary are only done in the offseason or in case of a trade), so I kept it in the total for trade purposes. Since DeRozan is not receiving his incentive this year, next summer it will be listed as unlikely, so it will not count against the cap.

Also note that Amir and Stiemsma are now fully guaranteed - this is true of every contract. Once Jan 10th rolls around, there's no longer such thing as non-guaranteed money.

Another note: we are now sitting on two different trade exceptions. The one from the Gay trade expired in December, leaving the one from the Novak deal ($3.44 million) and the one generated in the Salmons-for-Williams deal ($2.35 million).

As for this coming summer:

Raptors Salaries 2015-16:

Kyle Lowry $12,000,000
DeMar DeRozan $9,500,000 (not including $600,000 unlikely incentive)
Greivis Vasquez $6,600,000
Patrick Patterson $6,268,675
Jonas Valanciunas $4,660,482
Terrence Ross $3,553,917
James Johnson $2,500,000
Lucas (BeBe) Nogueira $1,842,000
Bruno Caboclo $1,524,000

Cap holds:

Amir Johnson $10,500,000
Landry Fields $9,375,000
Chuck Hayes $8,938,125
Lou Williams $8,175,000
Tyler Hansbrough $4,324,106
Nando de Colo $1,901,900 (cap hold; $1,828,750 QO)
1st Round Pick (assumed 20th) $1,257,800
Greg Stiemsma $947,276

Above roster, with only the 1st rounder kept: $50,757,060

Projected League Levels:

Cap: $66.5 million
Tax: $81.0 million
Apron/Hard Cap: $85.0 million

So that's $15.75 million in cap room if the Raptors let everybody walk. Probably enough to chase a Paul Millsap level player, or make a max offer on a restricted free agent. But it means filling two to four roster spots with the Room Mid-Level Exception and minimum salaries, including backup centre and another wing player, depending on how ready you think Bebe or Bruno are. I've stuck with assuming the 20th pick as a worst case (financially), even though the Raptors are projected for the 26th pick right now.

If the Raptors instead choose to keep Amir and Lou, for example, there's pretty much no way they both sign for little enough that the Raptors have more than the Mid-Level Exception in cap room left over, so they might as well use the MLE in that case and stay over the cap. If the Raptors sign only one of them, it gets interesting - assuming the one signs for between 6-9 million, that leaves about 7-10 million in cap room left over. Not enough to chase a big name, but enough to outbid other teams on MLE guys.

What do you guys think the Raptors should do or will do?