Dear Toronto Raptors, give Luc Mbah A Moute a contract

Toronto Raptors (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

If the Houston Rockets want another marquee free agent to play with Harden and Paul, they might have to let go of UFA Luc Mbah a Moute. If they do, the Toronto Raptors should try to lure him to Toronto this offseason.

Before detailing the benefits of this move for the Toronto Raptors, here’s a two-step plan to make it possible. Unfortunately, this idea would mean not resigning Fred VanVleet, Lorenzo Brown or Lucas Nogueira.

How To Get Luc Mbah a Moute to Toronto

Step 1: Don’t resign any of the 3 Raptors listed above.

Rationale: They are not what this team needs. These three players are capable but not uniquely productive players defensively, where Toronto struggled mightily in the playoffs. In other words, either because they lack experience or — with VanVleet and Brown, they lack size — Toronto needs better defenders.

Defensively, what this team really needs is a “LeBron stopper”… or, more realistically, a “LeBron impeder”.  The last 3 seasons of Raptors basketball have proved that Toronto’s biggest single issue is a man named LeBron James. Therefore, the Raptors need to find someone to impede him.

LeBron James finishes a layup against the Toronto Raptors as he is tied up by Serge Ibaka
LeBron James finishes a layup against the Toronto Raptors as he is tied up by Serge Ibaka /

More on why Mbah a Moute could be that guy later.

Step 2: Use the Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception to sign SF/PF Mbah a Moute

Rationale: As detailed in this article by Mark Birdsell, the Raptors are essentially “limited to the Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception (MLE), estimated to be about $5.29 million” this offseason. That said, if Luc Mbah a Moute wants it, Toronto should give it to him.

Although factors like family and market will play a role, Toronto’s projected Taxpayer MLE will still be over $3 million more than Mbah a Moute earned in 17/18 ($2,116,955, according to This means that Luc would earn a lot more money in Toronto than he did with Houston.

Why Luc Mbah a Moute is Toronto’s best/most realistic shot at overcoming LeBron James

General Outlook

First, he’s a veteran. That fact itself would be beneficial to a team who, as verified by, had only 5 players with more than 5 years of NBA experience in 17/18 (Lowry, DeRozan, Ibaka, Valanciunas and Miles). Like most Raptors fans, I was pleasantly surprised by OG Anunoby and the bench this season. That said, Mbah a Moute — a 10 year NBA veteran with 5 years of playoff experience — could be a great addition to such a young team.

HOUSTON, TX – NOVEMBER 14: Delon Wright & Luc  Mbah a Moute
HOUSTON, TX – NOVEMBER 14: Delon Wright & Luc  Mbah a Moute /

In addition, Mbah a Moute is a player who knows his role. In other words, he has previously coexisted alongside players like Chris Paul and James Harden. This leaves me confident that he can also coexist with DeRozan and Lowry, fulfilling his role without internal team conflict.

Beyond that, Mbah a Moute’s key skill set and his projected contract also make him a great fit in Toronto.

Key Skill: Defense

Players like OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and CJ Miles are fun to watch. However, they are not particularly versatile defenders — or, at least, they are not as versatile as Mbah a Moute.

According to Mbah a Moute is 6 ft 8 in. and weighs 230 pounds. Siakam is 6 ft 9 in. at 230 pounds. Anunoby is 6 ft 8 in. at 232 pounds. Miles is 6 ft 6 in. at 225 pounds.

Whether it is the experience advantage he has over Siakam and Anunoby or the physical advantages he has over Miles, Mbah a Moute — who, according to, ranked 13th in the NBA in defensive rating this regular season (min. 41 GP & 20 mpg) — is clearly a superior defensive option for the Raptors, especially against players like LeBron James, who all 3 Raptors struggled against defensively this postseason.

While Mbah a Moute has also struggled against LeBron, Mbah a Moute has likewise had quite some defensive success against James — as detailed in this article by Steve Van Horn of

Keeping LeBron in check

Comparing LeBron’s production with Mbah a Moute on and off the court (assuming he was James’ primary defender), Van Horn’s 3 year sample displays the following about James against Mbah a Moute:

  • LeBron suffered from a 20.6% decrease in restricted area FG%
  • He saw a 2.7% decrease in non-restricted area paint FG%
  • James had a 4.7% decrease in eFG% (effective FG%) and…
  • He had a 16.3 point decrease in offensive rating per 100 possessions

Appropriately, Mbah a Moute would be great defensively for Toronto, especially against top NBA talent like LeBron James.


The primary reason why Toronto should want Mbah a Moute is because his contract would be cheap and manageable. While other elite defenders would have hefty contracts or asking prices, Mbah a Moute is a rather economical option for Toronto.

At approximately $5.29 million for the Taxpayer MLE, which explains allows Toronto to sign Mbah a Moute for a maximum of 3 years, this contract could be great for both sides.

For Mbah a Moute, he would more than double his 17/18 salary while still playing for a contender. In addition, Toronto would likely give him a similar — or better, depending on the situation (guarding LeBron frequently) — role than he had in Houston this season (25.6 mpg, according to

Meanwhile, Toronto signs a proven “LeBron impeder” on an affordable contract. As well, Mbah a Moute will only be 34 when his contract ends, should Toronto sign him for 3 years.

Since Toronto has limited roster flexibility this offseason, Mbah a Moute might ultimately be Toronto’s best chance at overcoming their greatest hurdle.

Effectively, this is why the Toronto Raptors should immediately target Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency on July 1st.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.