Mar 7, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) controls the ball against Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) and guard Kyle Lowry (7) during the first half at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

What can be done with holdover Raptors who hurt our cap space?

May 4, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett (2) scores a basket past Toronto Raptors forward Chuck Hayes (44) in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. The Nets beat the Raptors 104-103. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

 

News that Rudy Gay is opting in with Sacramento for what I think will be his last big payday was greeted with a collective yawn. Anyone who advised him to opt out should have his head examined. Rudy is getting $19.3M; if I were an NBA General Manager, I’d tell him “Knock that 1 off the front, and you’ve got a deal”.

I thought I’d re-examine the Toronto Raptors’ salary situation for ’14-’15 with an eye to considering who is getting a fat cheque for producing little value. The biggest free agent disaster we’ve ever suffered through, save for Hedo Turkoglu, is Landry Fields, a small forward who’s certainly been small, but not forward. There are those fans who still believe he’s going to somehow arise, phoenix-like, from the ashes of his last two seasons, to become a useful player in this, the final season of his contract. My skepticism is beyond measure. If the Raps hadn’t already used their amnesty on Linus Kleiza, I’d suggest Landry would be a prime candidate. As it is, we need to hold our nose while paying Fields a smidgen less than we pay Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross, combined. I don’t even care about the money; it’s not mine, after all. I do care about the effect paying Landry has on our salary cap situation. Assuming Kyle Lowry comes back at around $36M over 3 years, we’re in a bad way. Perhaps Kyle might take a back-end-loaded agreement (9-12-15), in which case we can keep several of our Restricted Free Agents (Amir, Greivis, Nando) while waving good-bye to John Salmons, Tyler Hansbrough, and either Julyan Stone or Dwight Buycks. By my back of the envelope math (not quite – I use a spreadsheet, but I’m still guessing), we should be under the expected salary cap. However, there’s insufficient space to sign a quality free agent, like Deng or Ariza.

Chuck Hayes was signed to a multi-year deal by Sacramento in 2011, by a GM who must have been desperate. Chuck, no better than even money to make an uncontested layup, has managed to go zero for 14 in his career on 3-balls. This season he’s due to make a hair under $6M, with a vague role as backup 4 or 5.

Both Chuck and Landry’s contracts expire at season’s end, and I doubt there’s much chance we can move either of them prior. They are the last unfortunate reminders of Bryan Colangelo’s decision-making at its worst. Chuck is part of the punishment for taking on Rudy, and Landry arrived because BC thought he was out-smarting the Knicks. It’s sad, because BC has proven to be very sound at evaluating young talent; DeRozan, JV and TRoss were all drafted on his watch. Let’s hope our current GM learns from his predecessor’s trading and free agency errors. Furthermore, as I can’t imagine Chuck or Landry still being Raps in ’15-’16, we can look forward to having a whack of cap space.

Raptor Nation, am I painting too bleak a picture? Is there something Masai can do during this season? Suggestions welcome in the Comments.

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