The Raptors have exercised their team options for 2016/17 on the rookie scale contracts of Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Nogueira, the team announced (Twitter link). That means the team locked in their salaries of $1,589,640 and $1,921,320, respectively, for that season. The moves are no surprise, since most clubs pick up rookie scale team options, even though Toronto didn’t give much playing time to either last season. Each of them saw just 23 minutes of action all year at the NBA level, with a couple of D-League assignments sprinkled in.
Neither seems poised to grab a spot in the Raptors rotation this season, but they’ll likely see much more time in the D-League, since the establishment of Raptors 905 gives Toronto a one-to-one affiliate. Nogueira, now 23 years old, was more productive in the D-League last season than Caboclo was, though the three-year age difference between the two likely played into it. The younger Caboclo was a surprise selection at No. 20 overall in the 2014 draft. Nogueira was the 16th pick in the 2013 draft, but he remained overseas for a year with Estudiantes of Spain before the Raptors acquired his rights from the Hawks in the Lou Williams trade.
Toronto’s commitments for 2016/17 rise to almost $60MM against a projected $89MM cap with today’s moves. That includes the extension that Jonas Valanciunas signed this summer, but no money for DeMar DeRozan, who has a $10.05MM player option, or Terrence Ross, who’s also extension eligible. Agent Rich Paul reportedly believes he can get the Raptors to make a max offer next summer to Toronto native Tristan Thompson, who can hit unrestricted free agency in July if he signs his qualifying offer from the Cavs this week. The Raptors would have to pass on Ross and DeRozan would have to opt in or re-sign at a discount for the team to have the flexibility for Thompson’s max starting salary of a projected $20.4MM. Preliminary indications are DeRozan will opt out, a strong bet given his level of performance and the rising salaries around the league.
Which of Caboclo and Nogueira do you believe has the greatest chance to make an impact in the NBA? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.