Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2019 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2019/20 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Toronto Raptors.
- Standard contracts:
- Patrick McCaw: Two years, $8MM. Re-signed using mid-level exception.
- Stanley Johnson: Two years, $7.43MM. Signed using bi-annual exception.
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: One year, $2.5MM. Signed using mid-level exception.
- Matt Thomas: Three years, minimum salary. Second year partially guaranteed ($725K). Third year non-guaranteed. Signed using mid-level exception.
- Terence Davis: Two years, minimum salary. Second year non-guaranteed. Signed using minimum salary exception.
- Cameron Payne: Two years, minimum salary. First year partially guaranteed ($150K). Second year non-guaranteed. Signed using minimum salary exception. (Waived)
- Isaiah Taylor: Two years, minimum salary. First year partially guaranteed ($50K). Second year non-guaranteed. Signed using minimum salary exception. (Waived)
- Two-way contracts:
- Non-guaranteed camp contracts:
- 2-59: Dewan Hernandez — Signed to three-year, minimum-salary contract. First year partially guaranteed ($500K). Second and third years non-guaranteed. Signed using mid-level exception.
- Pascal Siakam: Four years, 25% maximum salary. Projected value of $129,920,000. Starting salary can be worth between 28-30% of the cap if Siakam earns All-NBA or MVP honors in 2020 (full details). Starts in 2020/21; runs through 2023/24.
- Kyle Lowry: One year, $30MM. Includes $500K All-Star bonus. Starts in 2020/21; runs through 2020/21.
Other offseason news:
- Named Brittni Donaldson, Jon Goodwillie as assistant coaches.
- Kyle Lowry underwent left thumb procedure to repair tendon injury.
- Exercised 2020/21 rookie scale option on OG Anunoby.
Salary cap situation:
- Remained over the cap.
- Carrying approximately $125.15MM in salary.
- $961K of mid-level exception still available (used $8.3MM on Patrick McCaw, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Matt Thomas, and Dewan Hernandez).
- Three traded player exceptions available; largest TPE ($2.54MM) expires 2/7/20.
Story of the summer:
Generally speaking, the Raptors received high grades at the time for the 2018 blockbuster that saw them acquire Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green from the Spurs without surrendering young building blocks like Pascal Siakam or OG Anunoby.
However, some skeptics questioned the wisdom of giving up a perennial All-Star like DeMar DeRozan for Leonard, who was on an expiring contract and didn’t even want to be in Toronto. Kawhi had also been limited to just nine games the year before due to a quad injury, creating further uncertainty about what exactly the Raptors were getting in that deal.
The concern that Leonard would be a one-year rental was real, even if early speculation that he wouldn’t even report to Toronto was invented. But after years of disappointing playoff runs, the Raptors had determined it was time for a change. To president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, the risk of Leonard being one-and-done was worth it, since a healthy Kawhi would give the club a legit chance to make the NBA Finals.
Ujiri’s bet paid off in a big way, as Leonard didn’t just give the Raptors a chance at a title — he led the way as the franchise secured its first-ever championship. It took some good luck along the way – including a fortunate roll on Leonard’s series-ending buzzer beater against the Sixers and a Finals matchup against a Warriors team missing Kevin Durant – but Toronto was one of the NBA’s best teams all season long, and peaked at exactly the right time.
While Ujiri was ultimately right to make that move for Leonard, the skeptics who were concerned about the star forward being a rental were proven right too. Once free agency rolled around, the Los Angeles native decided to head home, joining the Clippers just three weeks after winning a Finals MVP award with the Raptors.
Leonard’s departure stung in Toronto. After all, the hangover from the championship celebration had barely worn off by the time fans found out the team’s best player wouldn’t be back. Still, having that title under their belts made it a whole lot easier for the Raptors and their fans to move on.
Unlike when the Cavaliers lost LeBron James in 2018, losing their star player won’t immediately force the Raptors into rebuilding mode. The team’s cap sheet is relatively clean going forward, and Siakam, Anunoby, and Fred VanVleet give Toronto a few intriguing pieces to build around, with accomplished veterans like Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka still poised to play major roles in the short term.