Kyle Lowry‘s free agency decision will probably determine whether the Raptors operate above or below the salary cap in free agency, writes Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Demand is expected to be high for the 35-year-old point guard, with the Sixers and Heat among the contending teams likely to make offers.
If Lowry opts to stay in Toronto, where he has been for the past nine seasons, the team won’t have to be concerned with creating cap space. Murphy notes that the Raptors already have about $78MM committed to five players for next season, along with $32.18MM for seven non-guaranteed contracts and $66.3MM in cap holds. With a projected salary cap of $112.41MM, any new deal for Lowry would virtually ensure that the Raptors operate over the cap.
If he opts to go elsewhere, Toronto would be faced with the choice of taking the open cap room or trying to work out a sign-and-trade. Murphy points out that the Raptors can get to nearly $28MM by waiving and renouncing everyone without guaranteed money, which would be almost enough for a max offer for a player who has been in the league less than seven years. A sign-and-trade would likely make operating above the cap a better option, Murphy adds, but it would depend on how much salary the Raptors are willing to take back in return.
There’s more from Toronto:
- The Pelicans have been rumored to have interest in Lowry, and Steven Loung of Sportsnet.ca examines what a potential sign-and-trade deal might look like. Assuming Lowry signs with New Orleans for at least $20MM a season, Loung sees Steven Adams as a potential target. He would address Toronto’s issues at center, and the Pelicans reportedly have interest in getting rid of his $17MM contract for the upcoming season. Loung could envision a deal involving Adams and a young player such as Jaxson Hayes or Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
- In a separate story, Murphy reassesses the projected top four players in draft and considers the Raptors’ chances of trading up into the top three.
- South Carolina shooting guard A.J. Lawson had a workout for the Raptors this week, tweets Canadian basketball scout Wes Brown. Lawson, who grew up in Ontario, is ranked 77th on ESPN’s big board.