The Raptors have made it official today (apparently the paper work can be dealt with on Sunday?): they’ve exercised the fourth-year options on the contracts of Lucas Nogueira and Bruno Caboclo, along with the third-year option on Delon Wright. All three are now under contract through 2017-18.
The Raptors have exercised 4th-year contract options on Caboclo, Nogueria and 3rd-year on Wright. All under contract through 2017-18. #rtz— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) October 23, 2016
Given the explosion of salaries as of late, and the investment the Raptors have already made in their younger players, this is the logical move — even if you’re not a fan yet of any of these players. The rookie scale on contracts still very much favours the team, offering them cost certainty and control for the first three or four years of a player’s career.
For Wright, the 24-year-old 20th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft now entering his second year, there’s a timeline where he becomes the Raptors point guard of the future in some capacity. He’s on the shelf right now with a bum shoulder until December or January, but Wright has already shown some strong playmaking skills and good defensive instincts. Next will come that pesky jump shot, which still needs work. Upon his eventual healthy return, Wright will probably spend most of his time in the D-League with the Raptors 905 again this season, which is what happens when Kyle Lowry and Cory Joseph exist. Still, the floor on Wright remains high — he’ll be a full time NBA player soon.
Meanwhile, despite his own recent unfortunate ankle injury trouble, this news also bodes well for the 24-year-old Nogueira. With Bismack Biyombo gone, and Jakob Poeltl going through his own rookie growing pains, the minutes have fallen to Bebe to be the man in the middle. I don’t want to get too dramatic here, but even Nogueira can (and has) acknowledged that this is his time — a good run over the next season or two would secure his place in the NBA for the next contract to come. Here’s hoping the ankle sprain is minor and the Brazilian big man gets a chance to show he too can be a consistent force for the Raptors.
Finally, there’s Bruno. As we enter year three of the Caboclo project, we’re still not clear as to what exactly the lanky Brazilian, still just 21, is as a player. And from the sounds of some in the organization, they don’t know either. Bruno remains the longest of long term investment projects and since the Raptors have already put two years in (and built an entire D-League team for him), it makes sense to just keep going. Unlike Bebe and Wright however, the future for Bruno post-2018 is immensely unclear.
Anyway, with that bit of book keeping out of the way: hey, has the regular season started yet?