Offloading DeMarre Carroll in the wee hours of Sunday morning felt like the first domino of the Raptors’ post-Lowry and Ibaka off-season plans. There was just no way Masai Ujiri was going to dump DeMarre Carroll if there weren’t subsequent moves in the works to balance out the roster.
On Sunday afternoon, The Vertical’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that assumption, breaking the news that the Raptors are finalizing a sign-and-trade deal to send Cory Joseph to Indiana in exchange for small forward C.J. Miles.
Toronto and Indiana are discussing sign-and-trade deal of free agent CJ Miles to the Raptors, league sources tell The Vertical.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 9, 2017
Toronto is finalizing a sign-and-trade with Indiana to move Cory Joseph for CJ Miles, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 9, 2017
Sources: Toronto-Indiana deal is agreed in principle. Miles will sign a 3-year, approximately $25M deal with Raptors, with player option.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 9, 2017
For a team with a bounty of point guard depth, a thin wing depth chart, a dearth of shooting, and limited financial flexibility, this is a border line perfect move for the Raptors. Miles probably figures to open the season as the team’s starting small forward next to DeMar DeRozan. Coming off a season in which he shot 41.3 percent from deep on 5.4 attempts per game, Miles instantly becomes either the second or third-best deep threat on the roster, behind Kyle Lowry, and in competition with Serge Ibaka. Miles also replaces Carroll as the one wing on the roster with the capacity to slide down to the four in smaller looks. Lowry-Powell-DeRozan-Miles-Ibaka already has the look of an attractive crunch-time unit.
Losing Joseph is a bit of a blow, but it’s an absorbable one with Delon Wright likely being ready for a full-time backup role. Joseph will now compete with Darren Collison for the Pacers’ starting point guard job -- a competition he should probably win.
Joseph’s 2016-17 season had a serpentine quality to it, but he was at his best during the stretches in which the team needed him most. With Kyle Lowry sidelined, Joseph’s defence recovered nicely from a first-half swoon (remember that game against Isaiah Thomas out of the All-Star break?). His most memorable moment in a Raptors uniform was one of his last; his timely corner three late in Game 6 against Milwaukee halted a disastrous collapse and helped the Raptors win a series in less than the minimum number of games for the first time in franchise history.
Toronto is better off financially than it was 24 hours ago. Miles’ contract, if structured to include annual raises, will begin at just $7.94 million in 2017-18, make it an almost salary-neutral swap for Joseph’s $7.7 million salary next season.
The Raptors now have roughly $122 million committed to 14 players for next season. They also boast the $11.8 million trade exception created in the Carroll trade, and can offload both Lucas Nogueira and Justin Hamilton if they’d like to open up the full mid-level exception of just over $8 million.
Per Woj, the move can’t be finalized until the Carroll deal with the Nets is officially completed, which may take a few days as the Otto Porter saga reaches its conclusion. Barring some catastrophic breakdown, though, the Raptors have made their free agency splash.
What do you think of the move?
Credit to Daniel Hackett for confirmation on all of the salary cap information. He is the greatest, as usual.