Toronto Raptors: The cap implications of the Malachi Richardson trade

Toronto Raptors - Malachi Richardson (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Malachi Richardson (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

 The Toronto Raptors parted with Malachi Richardson and a second-round pick for cash considerations. What was the reasoning behind their deal?

The Philadelphia 76ers made their blockbuster trade, and it appears as if the Toronto Raptors have countered. Well, kind of. Toronto traded Malachi Richardson to the Philadelphia 76ers in a transaction that would cause even the biggest Raptors fan to shrug.

The deal sent out Malachi Richardson, Emir Preldzic (A 31-year-old European who will almost certainly never play in the NBA), and a 2022 second round pick for cash considerations. And while the deal might not be a blockbuster, it does have some significant implications on the Raptors cap-sheet for this season and moving forward.

Save some cash

Malachi Richardson was making $1.569 million, not exactly breaking the bank. Anyone Toronto brings in, they’ll be paying $1.512 million for (due to some weird CBA rules on veterans minimums I won’t bore you with). That’s a total savings of $57,000, prorated over 27 games which saves just under 19K. Essentially nothing.

However, the Toronto Raptors are operating as a Luxury-Tax team. Tax payments are calculated based upon your year-end payroll, meaning the savings against the tax are not pro-rated. Considering Toronto is the fourth ‘tax band’, they will also save $3.25 dollars in tax savings for every dollar they cut.

All together the deal will save greater than 200,000 (57K*3.25 + 19K). If they wait the full two weeks until another trade is mandated, it will save them more than half a million (According to Blake Murphy of the Athletic), although I wouldn’t expect that.

They also get whatever cash was sent by Philadelphia (terms have not been disclosed at this time).

Gain a roster spot for the buyout market

You probably don’t care about saving MLSE money. In fact, a deal sending away a draft pick to strictly save MLSE money is probably slightly annoying. But there is good news! The Raptors can themselves with this trade.

Toronto just opened up a roster spot to hit the buyout market. With (relatively) big-time names such as Wayne Ellington and Wesley Matthews projected to become available. A buyout option could help the Raptors far more than Malachi ever would/did.

Losing a future asset

One second-round pick is nearly inconsequential. However, these types of deals add up.

One extra dessert is fine. Yet, after multiple unexpected desserts, you find yourself huffing and puffing after two trips up the court in a pickup basketball game (definitely not speaking from experience here).

The same goes with trading away future picks. Trading a second-round pick here and there is okay in moderation. Do it too many times, and you wake up as the Knicks.

Next. Raptors Roundtable trade deadline edition. dark

The Malachi Richardson deal won’t make headlines, it’s not groundbreaking, and his departure might not even be noticed by the casual observer. But the accumulation of small moves around the margins is what allows teams to make the big moves like trading for Kawhi Leonard.