Paul George signing means the perfect Raptors free agent is now available

The 76ers landed their star in Paul George, but as their cap space is used up it means the Toronto Raptors can swoop in and sign the perfect free agent guard.
James Harden, De'anthony Melton and Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers
James Harden, De'anthony Melton and Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The Toronto Raptors are building a roster with a lot of lineup versatility on the perimeter. In the modern NBA having wings who can shoot and defend is extremely valuable, and in a summer when they added players like Ja'Kobe Walter in the draft and Sasha Vezenkov via trade the Raptors are expanding their options.

With limited space under the luxury tax line, however, the Raptors don't have many bullets left to fire. They have Bruce Brown on the roster and are looking for a trade, and it's very possible they trade him to upgrade the roster.

Otherwise, the Raptors can take one last big swing by signing a player to the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception (MLE) which starts at $12.9 million and can go up to four years. As NBA free agency picks up and players start agreeing to deals, the clouds may be parting for the Raptors to find the perfect signing to complete their primary work this summer.

The 76ers have made available the perfect free agent

In a blockbuster move that was discussed often leading into the summer but still surprising now that it was happened, All-Star wing Paul George signed a four-year, maximum contract to join the Philadelphia 76ers. Philly had carved out the necessary cap space, but they now need to build out a roster around him.

They have taken steps to do so, adding Andre Drummond and Eric Gordon and agreeing to terms with Kelly Oubre Jr. for him to return. With just around $9 million in room remaining, however, they are going to have to say goodbye to a couple of outgoing free agents.

It has already been reported that Nic Batum doesn't plan to return, whether that's because he is retiring or is joining another team. Tobias Harris was likely never coming back but is now priced out. And finally, it is extremely likely that free agent guard De'Anthony Melton will be able to land a larger contract with another team and will be departing the city of brotherly love.

Enter the Toronto Raptors, who have a couple of extremely young shooting guards but could use a veteran addition who can play alongside Immanuel Quickley, handle the ball, space the floor and play strong defense on the perimeter. That description fits Melton perfectly and makes him the ideal player for the Raptors to target.

It's not simply that Melton is a good fit; everything about his age (26) and production profile suggest that Melton is an extremely valuable player. John Hollinger at The Athletic has a "BORD$" analytics model that projects the value of players in future seasons, and it ranked Melton as the No. 2 shooting guard on the market behind Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, with a value next season of $26,531,007.

That sort of market does not appear to be waiting for Melton, which means an offer at the full MLE of $12.9 million could very well be enough to bring him in. He would be an excellent addition to their core and able to work in a variety of lineup combinations with their current players.

The 76ers gained a star in Paul George, but they may be losing the perfect role player in De'Anthony Melton. Their loss could be the Raptors' gain.

Next. Best free-agent fits for the Toronto Raptors. Best free-agent fits for the Toronto Raptors. dark