Toronto Raptors

Raptors Sign Lorenzo Brown To Two-Way Contract

The Raptors have filled the second two-way contract opening on their roster, announcing today in a press release that they’ve inked free agent guard Lorenzo Brown. Malcolm Miller received the club’s other two-way deal earlier this month.

Brown, a second-round pick in 2013, appeared in 63 total NBA regular season games for the Sixers, Timberwolves, and Suns between 2013 and 2016. Last offseason, the 26-year-old battled for the Pistons’ third point guard spot in training camp, but lost out and was waived by the team.

After failing to earn a spot on Detroit’s regular season roster out of camp, Brown played in Russia and China. He eventually returned stateside and joined the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons’ D-League affiliate, with whom he averaged 23.6 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 4.0 APG in 11 games down the stretch this season.

For more details on how two-way contracts work, be sure to check out our breakdown here. We also have a tracker that shows how teams are using their two-way openings.

International Notes: Fredette, Hamilton, Seraphin

After considering a possible NBA return, Jimmer Fredette will spend at least one more season in China, tweets international basketball writer David Pick. Fredette has agreed to a one-year deal in the $1.8MM range to remain with the Shanghai Sharks. The 28-year-old is coming off an MVP season in the Chinese Basketball Association, averaging 37.4 points per game, along  with 7.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists.

The 10th player taken in the 2011 draft, Fredette started his career in Sacramento but never developed into the player the Kings had hoped. He also spent time with the Bulls, Pelicans and Knicks before leaving the NBA after the 2015/16 season. He reportedly turned down several 10-day offers at the end of last season.

There’s more news on the international front:

  • Justin Hamilton, who was waived by the Raptors last week after being acquired in a trade with the Nets, has signed with the Beijing Ducks of the CBA, according to Orazio Carcia of Sportando. Hamilton, who was part of the deal that sent DeMarre Carroll to Brooklyn, averaged 6.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in 64 games with the Nets last season.
  • Barcelona has interest in Kevin Seraphin if he isn’t retained by the Pacers, according to Dario Destri of Sportando. Seraphin’s $1,974,159 salary for next season doesn’t become guaranteed until August 1st, and the Pacers already have 14 players with guaranteed deals. He signed with Indiana last summer after spending five years with the Wizards and one with the Knicks. In his only season as a Pacer, Seraphin appeared in 49 games, averaging 4.7 points and 2.9 rebounds per night.
  • Ryan Arcidiacono, a former Italian league star who spent last season with the Spurs’ affiliate in the G-League, will return to Italy with Juvecaserta, tweets Chris Reichert of 2 Ways and 10 Days. Arcidiacono was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Villanova.

DeMarre Carroll Comments On Raptors' 'Iso' Ball

  • Recently acquired Nets forward DeMarre Carroll took another shot at the Raptors, telling Brian Lewis of the New York Post in so many words that the roster in Toronto just isn’t built to share the ball. “I had my share of iso already, so team-ball is my forte,” Carroll said. “You got two great All-Stars, two great players. That’s how they play. They were playing that way before I came, and they’re going to be playing that way long after I leave. They’re not changing that for me.

Atlantic Notes: Lin, Nets, Valanciunas, Miller, Raptors, Jackson, Celtics

Jeremy Lin boldly stated that his Nets will make the playoffs this upcoming season while answering questions from fans in an Instagram Live video, relays A.J. Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today Sports.

“We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says to me,” said Lin. He went on to say, “We’re gonna do some serious damage next year… I’m pretty sure he’ll (D’Angelo Russell) start (at shooting guard), but it will be pretty interchangeable. And then when one of us is out of the game, the other person most likely will have the ball in their hands. It will probably be a little bit combo guard-esque.”

This offseason the Nets have added Russell, as well as DeMarre Carroll and Timofey Mozgov. Brooklyn will be coming off a season in which it finished 20-62, dead last in the NBA standings. Lin played in just 36 games due to injury, but averaged a furtive 14.5 PPG to go with 5.1 APG and 3.8 RPG. Furthermore, Lin managed to put up those strong numbers in a mere 24.5 minutes per contest.

  • Raptors president Masai Ujiri addressed rumors that the team is trying to unload center Jonas Valanciunas, via Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network. Ujiri said that he believes in Valanciunas’ talent and values his offensive rebounding. While admitting that the team looked at trading Valanciunas when they were in the tax, the team is now “very comfortable” keeping JV.
  • Raptors guard Malcolm Miller underwent right ankle surgery, the team announced via press release (link via Twitter). Miller is expected to miss the next 12 weeks. He signed the team’s first two-way contract on July 9.
  • Also via Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network, the Raptors president says the team will “add a couple of different players. Maybe they’re non-guarantees, I don’t know.”
  • The Celtics employed a creative use of the stretch provision on the contract of Demetrius Jackson, reports Bobby Marks of ESPN. A day prior to waiving the former Notre Dame guard, Boston exercised the 2019/20 non-guaranteed team option on Jackson. This allowed Boston to stretch the contract over seven years rather than five, lowering the cap hit per year to $92,857 instead of $130,000.

Raptors Sign Kennedy Meeks

JULY 18: The Raptors have officially signed Meeks, the team announced today in a press release.

JUNE 23: The Raptors have struck a deal with undrafted rookie Kennedy Meeks, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter). According to Charania, Meeks will sign a partially guaranteed contract with Toronto. The deal can’t become official until after the 2017/18 league year begins.

Meeks, 22, averaged 12.3 PPG and 9.4 RPG during his senior year at North Carolina. The 6’9″ center was viewed as a top-100 prospect by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, who had Meeks at No. 92 on his big board.

Although he wasn’t drafted on Thursday night, Meeks will have a chance to attend training camp with the Raptors, making him the third UNC player to find a new NBA home this week. Meeks’ former Tar Heels teammates Justin Jackson and Tony Bradley were both first-round picks, going to the Kings and Jazz, respectively.

The Raptors came away from Thursday night’s draft with OG Anunoby, who isn’t expected to be fully healthy to start the 2017/18 season.

Raptors Sign C.J. Miles

The Raptors have officially signed free agent swingman C.J. Miles, the team announced today in a press release. Miles’ deal with Toronto was originally reported more than a week ago, though when the story first broke, it appeared it would be a sign-and-trade. Instead, the Raptors have signed Miles outright.C.J. Miles vertical

“C.J. is an exceptional shooter and adds versatility to our perimeter game,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement. “We are excited to add a player with experience level to our core group.”

Initial reports on Miles’ three-year, $25MM agreement with the Raptors suggested that Cory Joseph would be headed to Indiana in the swap. However, because Miles’ deal reportedly includes a third-year player option, it wasn’t eligible for a sign-and-trade — contracts in a sign-and-trade must run at least three years without options.

In order to get around that CBA restriction and to clear the salary necessary to bring Miles aboard, the Raptors sent Joseph to Indiana in a separate deal, and will sign Miles using their mid-level exception. Toronto would have faced a hard cap for 2017/18 either way, as we explained earlier today.

Miles, 30, will will help provide depth and outside shooting on a Raptors team that lost P.J. Tucker and DeMarre Carroll this summer. A 12-year veteran, Miles is coming off another productive season — in 76 games for the Pacers, he averaged 10.7 points and 3.0 rebounds, and shot a career-best 41.3% on three-pointers. He will be getting a nice raise from the $4.58MM he earned in 2016/17.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NBA Teams With Hard Caps For 2017/18

The NBA salary cap is somewhat malleable, with various exceptions allowing every team to surpass the $99.093MM threshold when that room is used up. In some cases, teams blow past not only the cap limit, but the luxury-tax limit as well, with clubs like the Cavaliers, Warriors, and Trail Blazers going well beyond that tax line this year.

The NBA doesn’t have a “hard cap” by default, which allows those clubs to build significant payrolls without violating CBA rules. However, there are certain scenarios in which teams can be hard-capped. When a club uses the bi-annual exception, acquires a player via sign-and-trade, or uses more than the taxpayer portion of the mid-level exception, that club will face a hard cap for the remainder of the league year.

When a team becomes hard-capped, it cannot exceed the tax apron at any point during the rest of the league year. Under the new CBA, the tax apron is set at the point $6MM above the luxury tax line. For the 2017/18 league year, the tax line is at $119.266MM, so the apron – and the hard cap – is at $125.266MM.

So far this year, six teams have imposed a hard cap on themselves by using the bi-annual exception, using the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, or acquiring a player via sign-and-trade. Listed below are those six teams, along with their current salary situation. Team salaries are estimations, since not all contracts have been finalized, and we don’t know the exact figures on all those salaries.

Los Angeles Clippers

  • How they created a hard cap: Acquiring Danilo Gallinari via sign-and-trade. Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Milos Teodosic and Jawun Evans.
  • Approximate team salary: $120MM
  • Breakdown: The Clippers still have some non-guaranteed salary on their books, but even if they were to cut those contracts, they’d need to fill out their 15-man roster somehow, so they appear likely to stay over the tax line, despite losing Chris Paul. They’ll fill out their roster with minimum salary players and will have somewhat limited flexibility in trades unless they dump some salary at some point.

Houston Rockets

  • How they created a hard cap: Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign P.J. Tucker and Zhou Qi. Using bi-annual exception to sign Tarik Black.
  • Approximate team salary: $119MM
  • Breakdown: The Rockets acquired Chris Paul before the new league year began in order to hang onto their mid-level and bi-annual exceptions, and made full use of them. Like the Clippers, the Rockets have some non-guaranteed salary that could be removed from their cap to sneak under the tax line, but they don’t appear concerned about that for now. It will be interesting to see if their hard cap limits their flexibility at all when it comes to adding a highly-paid player like Carmelo Anthony.

Toronto Raptors

  • How they created a hard cap: Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign C.J. Miles.
  • Approximate team salary: $118MM
  • Breakdown: Dumping the salaries of DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph allowed the Raptors to use their full mid-level exception, which gave them the opportunity to land a talented swingman like Miles. Toronto was originally planning to acquire Miles via a sign-and-trade, but either approach would have hard-capped the club.

Detroit Pistons

  • How they created a hard cap: Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Langston Galloway and Eric Moreland. Using bi-annual exception to sign Anthony Tolliver.
  • Approximate team salary: $116MM
  • Breakdown: Once the Pistons added Galloway and Avery Bradley, it became clear that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope wouldn’t return. Even without KCP on their books, the Pistons are inching close to tax territory, though they should be able to avoid crossing that threshold.

Memphis Grizzlies

  • How they created a hard cap: Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Ben McLemore and Rade Zagorac. Using bi-annual exception to sign Tyreke Evans.
  • Approximate team salary: $104MM
  • Breakdown: The Grizzlies are well below the tax line – and the hard cap – for now, but JaMychal Green‘s new contract looms large. At this point, it seems unlikely that Green will sign a massive offer sheet that forces Memphis into tax territory to match it. But even if Green gets $10-12MM per year, the Grizzlies will get a whole lot closer to the tax threshold, which will limit their ability to add more salary. If they let Green walk, that won’t be a problem, but I’d be surprised if that happens.

San Antonio Spurs

  • How they created a hard cap: Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Rudy Gay.
  • Approximate team salary: $97MM
  • Breakdown: The hard cap shouldn’t have a major impact on the Spurs, who are still nearly $30MM away from reaching it. However, new contracts for Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol could take San Antonio a whole lot closer to that tax threshold, depending on how much the club ends up paying its returning veterans.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders, HeatHoops, and ESPN used in this post.

Raptors' Valanciunas Trade Talks Didn't Get Far

  • The Raptors haven’t had much luck in their efforts to trade Jonas Valanciunas, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News details. According to Deveney, discussions with the Kings, Suns, Hornets, Trail Blazers, Hawks, and others “did not get very far.” Now that they’ve dumped some salary by moving DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph, it’s not clear if the Raptors are still attempting to move Valanciunas.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Nets, Raptors

The Knicks have, at least for now, pulled Carmelo Anthony from the trading block and are not actively shopping their All-Star scorer. If the Knicks really wanted to trade Anthony, the team could have sent him to the Rockets if taking Ryan Anderson‘s contract in return was not a hurdle. As Frank Isola of the New York Daily News writes, dealing Anthony for a player who does less on the court and guaranteed more money the next three years is not a wise move.

Anthony, 33, has two years, $54MM left on his deal whereas Anderson, 29, has three years, $61MM left. Reports have suggested the Knicks are seeking a third, possibly fourth, team to complete a deal. After naming Steve Mills president and acquiring Scott Perry from the Kings to be the team’s new general manager, it’s clear that New York is going in a new direction. Owner James Dolan said as much in a statement regarding the team’s new hire.

“Today marks a culture change for our organization where we reestablish the pride, work ethic and responsibility that comes with playing for the Knicks and representing New York,” Dolan said (via ESPN). “I’m confident that Steve is the right person to take on this role, and ensure that we return to one of the elite teams of the NBA. He’s got an ambitious plan that centers on building a young team focused on player development, communication and teamwork.”

The Knicks still have an abundance of options with Anthony: They can hold onto Anthony and hope he plays well and trade him midseason if the team is out of contention; keep pursuing trades until the team finds a good fit; and, less ideally, buyout Anthony for cap relief. It’s a complicated situation for all and Anthony, with his no-trade clause and trade kicker, has all the power.

Here are additional notes around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets have 10 guards in their organization and acquiring additional size this offseason remains a priority, per Fred Kerber of the New York Post. Kerber mentions Shabazz Muhammad and JaMychal Green as possible targets for Brooklyn as the team continues its search for upgrades in the frontcourt.
  • One of the newest Nets, DeMarre Carroll, tells Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun that he expected a trade this offseason. In the candid interview, Caroll discussed why he did not fit into the Raptors’ offense the way he imagined and why it became frustrating playing for the team.

Raptors Waive Justin Hamilton

JULY 14: The Raptors have officially waived Hamilton, per the NBA’s official transactions log.

JULY 9: The Raptors will waive newly acquired center Justin Hamilton and stretch the remainder of his contract, Brian Windhorst of ESPN tweets.

Hamilton and his $3MM 2017/18 deal were acquired from the Nets in the trade that sent DeMarre Carroll to Brooklyn.

Per Bobby Marks of ESPN, the cap hit will be stretched into $1MM over each of the next three seasons. This, he adds, puts the Raptors $2.5MM below the luxury tax line.

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