A case for building the Toronto Raptors like the Oakland A’s

(Photo by Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
(Photo by Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images) /
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Tracy McGrady. Credit: Ezra O. Shaw/Allsport
Tracy McGrady. Credit: Ezra O. Shaw/Allsport /

The A’s and the Raptors are not a free agency destination, but not for the same exact reasons

Baseball works differently than basketball. In baseball, the Collective Bargaining Agreement sets a competitive balance tax that essentially is supposed to operate as a salary cap. Yet, in reality, rich teams with rich owners can pay players an exorbitant amount of money, pay the tax for a couple of seasons, sneak under the threshold, and restart the process with minimal fees.

In essence, the teams in the high-profile cities–that earn more revenue than small-market teams–can simply out pay the smaller teams in free agency. The A’s in the mid-2000s were no different; players such as Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon left because the A’s simply couldn’t pay them the same amount as other teams.

Unlike the A’s, the Raptors can pay players, but players have a history of spurning the Raptors organization in free agency. Tracy McGrady, Chris Bosh, and, most recently, Kawhi Leonard all left for their own personal reasons. Yet the reasoning can likely be reduced to the fact that they just didn’t want to live and play in Toronto. Due to the fact that Toronto could have paid both Kawhi and Bosh more over their contract lifetimes, it seemed that money was not an underlying factor in the decision.

The A’s suffer from a money issue and a destination problem. To combat this, they evaluated players with differing statistics as compared to other teams. Additionally, they used the draft to sign quality players on cheap deals while they played out rookie contracts.

The Raptors, likewise, just won a championship without employing a single lottery pick on its roster. A similar plan will need to be put in place for the Raptors to remain competitive while reconstructing the roster.