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After re-signing DeRozan, here's the Raptors' salary cap situation

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With DeRozan back, and Biyombo gone, what does the cap picture look like now?

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is that the cap room picture actually hasn't changed, though we do have the official cap number from the league now. The Raptors still have until the end of the moratorium (July 7th, when players are allowed to sign their contracts) to set up any other deals that need cap room, as DeRozan will still count as his $15.525 million cap hold until he actually signs his contract.

Here is the cap room situation, unchanged from last time.

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
Lucas Nogueira
$1,921,320
Bruno Caboclo
$1,589,640
Delon Wright
$1,577,280
Norman Powell
$874,636


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

That totals $71.0 million committed salary (including two roster spot cap holds). Note that the cap numbers have been released and are no longer projections.

Adding cap holds for Poeltl and Siakam brings the total to $73.2 million committed, or about $21.0 million in cap room.

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.

DeMar DeRozan
$15,525,000
Luis Scola
$3,480,000
James Johnson
$3,250,000
Nando de Colo
$1,900,000
Jason Thompson
$980,431


To keep the rights to any of these players, their cap hold has to be kept, which eats into the available cap space.

DeRozan is re-signing with the team, so his cap hold definitely has to stay on the books, and the cap space shrinks from $21.0 million to $5.5 million. Note that this is essentially no cap space at all (as the mid-level exception [MLE], given to teams over the cap, is valued at $5.628 million this summer).

Biyombo's cap hold is no longer listed as he has signed elsewhere.

DeMar DeRozan's Contract

As for that DeRozan contract, let's take a quick look. There are several numbers being reported - the deal is 5 years in length, but totals range from $137.5 million to $139 million to $145 million depending who you ask. Rarely do these numbers actually get just misreported - there's a solid chance all three numbers are actually correct.

The first number reported was $139 million, which I expect is the number to be used for DeRozan's cap hit. A player's contract has three portions - base salary, likely incentives, and unlikely incentives. Only unlikely incentives do not count towards the cap. Considering the low number reported ($137.5 million) I think that is likely his base salary, and likely incentives bring it up to $139 million total cap hit. That means he has $1.5 million ($300 thousand per year) in performance incentives that he would have met last season.

The largest amount reported is $145 million, $6 million above that cap hit number. We can assume for now, until better information comes out, that these are unlikely incentives ($1.2 million per year), performance incentives that DeRozan would not have met last season. These count when calculating whether a team is in the tax or above the tax apron, but not for cap space calculations.

In any case, there is also the question of how DeRozan's contract is structured. Contracts can be backloaded or frontloaded a small amount (there is a maximum raise/drop allowed each year, in DeRozan's case, 7.5% of his first year salary each year), or be somewhere in the middle. We can't know until after the deal is signed and details start leaking out, but for now, let's find the extremes.

If the deal is fully backloaded, DeRozan's contract will look like this:

2016-17: $24,173,913
2017-18: $25,986,956
2018-19: 27,800,000
2019-20: $29,613,043
2020-21: $31,426,087

If the deal was fully frontloaded, it could have a first year salary of $32.7 million. But DeRozan's maximum salary is $26.54 million, so his first year salary cannot be above that (subsequent years can be through the raises allowed in the contract). As such, the most the deal can be frontloaded is actually a deal that increases into the third year then drops again:

2016-17: $26,540,100
2017-18: $28,530,610
2018-19: $29,966,940
2019-20: $27,976,430
2020-21: $25,985,920

So, DeRozan's salary this summer (after he signs) will be between $24.17 million and $26.54 million. For tax purposes, this goes up by $1.2 million due to his unlikely incentives (so, between $25.37 million and $27.74 million).

For now, looking at the worst case in terms of money committed when calculating whether the Raptors are in the tax, the total including DeRozan is about $102 million, about $11 million shy of the tax. That number includes both rookies signing standard 120% of scale contracts, and Powell counting as a 2-year veteran minimum instead of his lower salary (this is standard practice, meant to encourage teams to sign veterans instead of young players, or at least to avoid incentivizing signing younger players). Using the MLE and making a large trade with a large salary differential ($5 million is about as big as you can easily get when operating above the cap) would put them very close to the tax. Note that if they do use the MLE, they will be hard capped at the tax apron, $4 million above the tax line.

For now, Masai Ujiri has not done anything to change what he can do over the course of the next week. It will be interesting whether any PF upgrade comes through a cap clearing trade, a trade for a PF, or simply finding a gem with the MLE, like with Biyombo last season.

All confirmed salary numbers per basketball-insiders.com, new cap and maximum salary numbers from Larry Coon.