Summer agenda: Toronto Raptors

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Bobby Marks
·The Vertical
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The Vertical Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks, a 20-year executive with the Nets, offers his thoughts on the offseason plans of NBA teams whose seasons have ended.

THE PLAN GOING FORWARD
Placing priority on DeMar DeRozan
The stars have lined up for DeMar DeRozan, who will be an unrestricted free agent come July.

DeRozan, 26, is coming off an All-Star appearance in which he led his team to the Eastern Conference finals. With plenty of teams on the open market with cap space and in need of a guard, DeRozan will command a salary likely starting at $25 million annually.

The price might be steep for Toronto, but losing DeRozan would be a crushing blow.

Although cap space would be created, there is a lack of quality wings in this year’s free-agent class. Toronto’s Norman Powell and Terrence Ross are best suited for reserve roles. If either were to start, it would be a significant step back if DeRozan were to sign elsewhere.

Cap room for Bismack Biyombo
The Raptors will face an uphill challenge if they wish to bring back Bismack Biyombo.

Bismack Biyombo will likely be an unrestricted free agent in July. (AP)
Bismack Biyombo will likely be an unrestricted free agent in July. (AP)

Signed to one of the best free-agent contracts last summer, Biyombo will likely opt out of his $2.9 million deal and enter unrestricted free agency.

With non-Bird rights, the Raptors must be creative in order to find cap space for the 23-year-old center. They are currently over the cap and can only offer Biyombo $3.3 million or the full mid-level exception of $5.6 million. Both numbers are well below fair market value.

If the Raptors were to release the cap holds of free agents Luis Scola, Jason Thompson and James Johnson, Toronto would still be $1.5 million over the cap. The Raptors would certainly need to sacrifice one of their core players to create room. DeRozan’s $15 million cap hold has Toronto right at the cap.

Biyombo, who has made $14.3 million in his career, could earn that in the first year of his new contract.

Take advantage of the draft
The Raptors are in the enviable position of having a top-10 pick after reaching the conference finals.

With the ninth pick in the draft, Toronto is in win-now mode with a team that features four former first- or second-round picks in Delon Wright, Lucas Nogueira, Bruno Cabocio and Norman Powell.

Toronto also has the flexibility of the No. 26 pick if they want to draft and stash a player in Europe.

Up against the salary cap, what Toronto does in the draft could be its key off-season addition.

TEAM NEEDS
Signing Biyombo could cause a domino effect. If Biyombo were to sign with available cap space created, the Raptors’ lineup could become unbalanced based on the players traded to create room. The fate of DeRozan obviously will also affect the Raptors’ plan.

The situation at power forward often became a rotating door this past season. Toronto would likely have to address that need in the draft because cap space is scarce.

If DeMarre Carroll, last summer’s free-agent prize, returns healthy, that could help the Raptors offset some changes.

SUMMER CAP BREAKDOWN

Guaranteed

  2016-17

    Insider info

1. Jonas Valanciunas

  $14,382,022

    None

2. DeMarre Carroll

  $14,200,000

    None

3. Kyle Lowry

  $12,000,000

    None

4. Terrence Ross

  $10,000,000

    None

5. Cory Joseph

  $7,315,000

    None

6. Patrick Patterson

  $6,050,000

    None

7. Lucas Nogueira

  $1,921,320

    None

8. Bruno Cabocio

  $1,589,640

    None

9. Delon Wright

  $1,577,280

    None

10. Norman Powell

  $874,636

    None

FA cap holds

  2016-17

    Free-agent status

11. *DeMar DeRozan

  $15,075,000

    Full Bird rights

12. Luis Scola

  $3,480,000

    Non-Bird rights

13. *Bismack Biyombo

  $3,376,800

    Non-Bird rights

14. James Johnson

  $3,250,000

    Early Bird rights

15. Jason Thompson

  $980,431

    Non-Bird rights

16. Nando De Colo

  $1,902,000

    Qualifying offer

First-round holds

  2016-17

 

17. Has Denver’s No. 9 pick

  $2,253,300

 

18. Own pick at No. 27

  $996,700

 

*Player option, expected to be a free agent

CAP PICTURE

Guaranteed

  $69,909,898

Non/partial

  $0

FA cap holds

  $28,064,231

First-round holds

  $3,250,000

Minimum holds

  $0

Dead money

  $0

Total

  $101,224,129

Salary cap

  $92,000,000

Cap space

  None ($9,224,129 over)

PROJECTED CAP SPACE
With $69 million in guaranteed contracts, the Raptors are currently over the salary cap based on $28 million in free-agent holds, including DeRozan’s $15 million cap hold.

If Toronto were to release the holds on free agents Scola, Johnson and Thompson, and leave the No. 26 pick in the draft in Europe, the Raptors still would be over the cap.

JUNE DRAFT PICKS
First round: Own pick and has Denver’s

Second round: To Memphis

FUTURE PICKS
First round
Raptors have all their future first-round picks.

2017: Has Clippers’ pick (protected Nos. 1-15)

2018: Has Clippers’ pick (protected Nos. 1-15) if no first in 2017

2019: Has Clippers’ pick (protected Nos. 1-15) if no first in 2018

Key rights to: DeAndre Daniels (No. 37, second round, 2014)

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