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.

Tags: Rudy Gay Toronto Raptors

  • Tshhh

    “Is there something Masai can do during this season?”

    Masai traded Bargnani and somehow got draft picks. Traded Gay and got the very serviceable PatPat and Vasquez. (Yes, we took on Hayes – as well as Salmons, but JS contract is only guaranteed for a small amount)

    So really, ANYTHING is possible with Masai.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Tshhh:
      I’m a Masai fan, too, but we can’t expect miracles.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • ShadowXL

    In my best Sid Seixeiro voice: I BELIEVE IN MASAI!

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi ShadowXL:
      In my Brian voice “so do I”. Let’s wait until next year, or feature Fields in the pre-season and hope someone’s watching.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Slap Dog Hoops

    It is not as bleak as it seems. Masai has plenty of assets to package for a trade to get a quality veteran who can get the Raptors moving forward. Amir Johnson has a moderately reasonable contract at 6.5$ and is coming off a career year. Package him with the expiring contract of Landry Fields (6$M) and we can certainly get a quality veteran with playoff experience such as Loul Deng, Anderson Varejao, Pau Gasol, Thabo Sefalosha, or any one else like that.

    Let’s not forget we have Terrence Ross, a player with plenty of upside, who can also be used in some sign and trade possiblities. Overall, the Raptors are in FAR better shape than numerous other teams during this off season.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi SDH:
      I agree the Raps are in better shape than a bunch of teams – what’s infuriating is how close we’d be to a scary-good roster if we weren’t lugging around the mistakes.
      Please, let’s not trade TRoss, and I hope Masai finds a way to keep the useful Amir around.
      Thanks as always for dropping by.

  • AM

    Worst situation is waiting the next season out with as much of the roster in tact (hopefully with Lowry) which free’s up the cap space for the following season. Better situation, Masai is able to trade at least one of the large contracts creating some cap space. Best situation, he is able to trade the contracts that need to go, sign a helpful piece, and retain Lowry. I like the core group too much to package them away.

    All in all, I think your painting a realistic picture. Key is to get rid of those wasteful contracts, which will happen via trade or expiration; just a matter of time.

  • air.chesk

    As mentioned, we have very wealthy owners. We have to assume that we’re stuck with 2 unmovable and expiring bad contracts (Fields, Hayes) . What’s stopping us from signing a quality free agent and spending into the luxury tax for a one-year period?

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi air.chesk:
      The Raps certainly have wealthy owners, who will spend if there’s a reasonable shot at a deep playoff run. I believe what’s stopping us is the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which prevents teams from simply buying free agents. Let me do a little more reading on the CBA as it pertains to spending into the luxury tax, and I’ll be back to you.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • leonidas

    If Landry doesn’t show signs of life during this, a contract year for him, then he never will again. If he does show signs, its probably fools gold but, it should be enough to sucker someone into taking him on by the trade deadline. The question then will be will MLSE look to make a deal? Or will they let Fields walk at the end of the season?

    Peaking during your rookie season & getting a fat contract: amazing. Landing a smoking hot wife: epic. Declining every season after your big payoff & still avoiding “most hated Raptor” distinction : unbelievable.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi leonidas:
      I love your last paragraph. So true.
      Read my post of today – Masai is amazing, and may find a home for Landry before this season begins. We can hope so. There are no minutes for him anymore. I’d rather see Daniels crack the roster.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Gary Slippoy

    Landry had had elbow problems the past few years. Let’s hope it is cleared up and he can contribute even a little bit.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Gary:
      At this point, we’d take anything from that guy. If I’m Dwane Casey, I’m not counting on him for anything, again.
      Thanks for commenting.