In an attempt to create financial flexibility and roster upgrades, Raptors president Masai Ujiri has been wheeling and dealing.
On Saturday night, the team agreed to send forward DeMarre Carroll, a 2018 lottery-protected first-round pick and a second-round pick to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for center Justin Hamilton, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Ujiri, who committed to being aggressive via the trade route to help bolster his team’s depth, then made good on his promise Sunday. Per multiple reports, including one from The Vertical’s Shams Charania, the Raptors and Pacers are finalizing a sign-and-trade that would see Toronto acquire free-agent guard C.J. Miles in exchange for backup point guard Cory Joseph.
After the Raptors committed sizable resources to re-signing Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka this offseason, the team needed to find a way to create some salary-cap flexibility going forward. Lowry, Ibaka and DeMar DeRozan will make roughly $83 million per year over the next three seasons. Carroll and the nearly $30 million left on his current contract ended up being the causality. Crucially, that trade got Toronto below the luxury tax for the 2017-18 season.
But with Carroll gone, the Raptors needed to fortify a rotation that had also lost veterans P.J. Tucker (Rockets) and Patrick Patterson (Thunder) to free agency. The Miles deal adds much needed shooting and depth to the Raptors on the heels of the Carroll trade. The 30-year-old, who will reportedly sign a $25M deal with Toronto, shot a career-high 41 percent from deep last year.
Miles’ incoming contract, coupled with the outgoing $7.6 million salary of Joseph, should keep the Raptors below the tax, depending on how Miles’ three-year, $25 million deal is structured.
Third-year point guard Delon Wright should now slide into backup role vacated by Joseph. Fred VanVleet would be Toronto’s third option at the point.
So the Raptors, who bowed out of the playoffs last year in the second round, were able to maintain their core of Lowry, Ibaka and DeRozan without completely draining their bench, and without sinking themselves into the tax.
The deals won’t be completed, however, until the Nets have the necessary cap room to take in Carroll’s salary. That won’t happen until the Wizards officially match the $106 million offer sheet made to former third overall pick Otto Porter. Until Porter passes his physical, the Nets will simply have to wait. The Raptors deal with Indiana is also contingent on the Porter deal officially going through.
The Nets are also winners in this tandem of deals. With the team in rebuild mode and with no first-round pick in 2018, general manager Sean Marks continues to make shrewd deals to acquire assets by taking on hefty contracts. Earlier in the offseason, the Nets acquired young point guard D’Angelo Russell from the Los Angeles Lakers by absorbing the $46 million still owed to center Timofey Mozgov.
Carroll brings a veteran presence to a young Nets squad, and will have the opportunity to mentor promising forwards Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Just as importantly, he brings a first round pick with him to Brooklyn.
The two deals should be completed by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest.