Comparing Raptors stars’ salaries to other NBA teams’ best

Toronto Raptors - Serge Ibaka (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Serge Ibaka (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors look a lot different at the pay window than they did last season. Are the salaries of their top players out of line?

The most thankless element of an NBA top man’s job is managing his team’s salary cap. I decided to nose around the salary tables of a number of rivals to the Toronto Raptors to get some insight into how well team President Masai Ujiri is managing his money.

Who will be the top three earners in 2017-18? Any Raptors fan knows the answer without any need to ask Google: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka. That trio will suck up $75 million of the (approximately because of options) $118 million in salaries already committed.

What about other squads? How much are their Big Three getting, and how do they compare with us?

In the East

The Boston Celtics are paying $63 M to Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas. A BIG “however”: Thomas, who’s in the last season of his current deal, is making less than C.J. Miles. Their tiny, brilliant point guard is going to present a huge, albeit pleasant, problem for GM Danny Ainge next post-season. Thomas’s days of contributing like an All-Star while being paid like a rotation player are going to end dramatically, assume he enjoys another strong season (and why shouldn’t he?). Anyway, the Celtics receive tremendous value for their top end players.

BOSTON, MA – MAY 25: Tristan Thompson
BOSTON, MA – MAY 25: Tristan Thompson /

In Washington, the Wizards were forced to break the bank on two players, John Wall and Otto Porter. Ponying up for Wall wasn’t difficult; he’s proven his value. Porter was more of a calculated risk, as 2016-17 was the first season in which he showed why he was selected #3 in the 2013 draft. The Wizards have taken the plunge, and their top 3 (Porter, Bradley Beal, Porter) will cost them $66M. (Wall’s giant raise doesn’t kick in until ’19-20.)

Cleveland’s situation is fluid. At the moment, their 3 most expensive players (LeBron, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving) total $75M, the same as our guys [20-second timeout: I’ve rounded these salary numbers, folks. If you want the precise figures, here’s the site:] But the team is miles over the salary cap and well into the luxury tax, and Irving is all but certain to be moved. They have the highest payroll in the NBA at $142M.

Go West, young man

A trip out West takes us to the Los Angeles Clippers. Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Danilo Gallinari total $72M.

Just for fun, I thought I’d have a peek at the Golden State Warriors. Their Big 3 (Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson) check in at $76M.

In other words, several contending teams’ best three players cost about $75M more often than not. By that extremely rough standard, the Raptors are NOT overpaying for their stars.

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