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Raptors' Salary Cap Update: The situation after the Jared Sullinger signing

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With Sullinger signed, the questions about whether the Raptors would try to use cap space or just operate over the cap are answered.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors signed Jared Sullinger to a one year deal for the mid-level exception (MLE, $5.628 million). The Raptors had $4.8 million in cap room to spend, or would stay over the cap and use the MLE. As predicted, it appears the team is staying over the cap.

Here is the cap room situation after the signing. DeMar DeRozan's full contract value is now placed in the table, as with Sullinger signing there is no cap room left and DeRozan will likely be signing his deal shortly.

DeMar DeRozan
$24,173,913
Jonas Valanciunas
$14,382,024
DeMarre Carroll
$14,200,000 
Kyle Lowry
$12,000,000
Terrence Ross
$10,000,000
Cory Joseph
$7,315,000
Patrick Patterson
$6,050,000
Jared Sullinger
$5,628,000
Jakob Poeltl
$2,703,960
Lucas Nogueira
$1,921,320
Bruno Caboclo
$1,589,640
Delon Wright
$1,577,280
Pascal Siakam
$1,196,040
Norman Powell
$874,636


Salary Cap: $94,143,000
Tax: $113,287,000
Apron: $117,287,000

That totals $103.6 million committed salary, or about $9.5 million above the cap. Note that the total salary towards the tax is counted slightly differently, with players like Powell (1-year veteran's minimum salary) counting for a little more salary (the 2-year minimum), and incentives counting even if they are unlikely (so DeRozan's number goes up by about $1.2 million for tax purposes). So that means about $104.9 million in salary for tax calculations, leaving them about $8.4 million below the threshold.

Here are the cap holds for the various free agents for whom the Raptors have rights of some kind. Those rights allow the team to go over the cap to sign the free agent, to various contract amounts depending on the type of rights each player has. Now that the cap space is gone anyway, this is really just a list of the players the Raptors hold rights to.

Luis Scola
$3,480,000
Nando de Colo
$1,900,000
Jason Thompson
$980,431

Now What?

With Sullinger signing for the MLE, that means the team has no cap space, and has already used one of the major options for adding talent for an over-the-cap team. The Raptors still have the bi-annual exception (BAE) to offer free agents (up to $2.2 million per year for two years).

The team also has the option to make trades while over the cap. This requires matching salaries -- to bring in a player, the team must send out a similar salary. The matching rules are as follows (the first two apply only if the team finishes the trade under the tax line):

1) If the team sends out less than $9.8 million in salary, they can receive back 150% of their outgoing salary (plus $100,000).

2) If the team sends out between $9.8 million and $19.6 million in salary, they can receive back $5 million more than their outgoing salary.

3) If the team sends out more than $19.6 million, or finishes the trade over the tax, they can receive back 125% of their outgoing salary (plus $100,000).

A team can receive back as little salary as they like, they are limited in increasing their total salary, not decreasing it.

Also note, since the Raptors used the MLE, they are now hard-capped at the tax apron (listed above). They cannot go over that amount all season, so keep that in mind (as well as the amount of room under the tax I listed above) when constructing trades.

This may actually be it for the team this year (with maybe a depth wing signing coming), but if you think there is a bigger upgrade to be had (I think that bigger upgrade happens at the deadline or next year's draft), happy hunting!

All confirmed salary numbers per basketball-insiders.com.