Raptors are paying Immanuel Quickley as much as this future Hall of Famer

The Toronto Raptors signed Immanuel Quickley to a lucrative new contract, and it will pay him as much as a future Hall of Famer just signed for out West.
Immanuel Quickley, Toronto Raptors
Immanuel Quickley, Toronto Raptors / Cole Burston/GettyImages

Immanuel Quickley secured the bag.

This time a year ago, he was offered a contract extension commensurate for a high-end backup, which made sense because that's exactly what he was, playing on a New York Knicks team behind star point guard Jalen Brunson. The Knicks valued Quickley and especially leaned on him when Brunson missed time, but they couldn't afford to pay him like a top-end starter.

That's in large part why the Knicks were willing to trade Quickley; he had more value to a team that needed a starting point guard than to the Knicks, and they could turn that value into a player that better fit their roster. They did that, trading Quickley, RJ Barrett and the No. 31 pick for OG Anunoby, a deal that looks like a win for the Raptors but has plenty of runway left to unfold.

Quickley settled into his role as the starting point guard in Toronto, putting up strong numbers and maintaining his shooting accuracy and overall efficiency despite a larger role and a roster churning around him. Quickley played 1,265 minutes for the Raptors last season in 38 games: 600 came with Scottie Barnes, just 432 with Jakob Poeltl, 184 with Pascal Siakam, 203 with Dennis Schroder. To expect an even better season in 2024-25 with a full offseason and an intact roster around him is very reasonable.

The Raptors are also expecting a better season, next year and moving forward. They expect Quickley to blossom into a star at the point guard position, a future All-Star and potentially more who can run the offense and score at an elite level at all three levels.

At least, that's what they paid him to be.

Immanuel Quickley was paid like a star

Immanuel Quickley signed a five-year, $175 million contract in restricted free agency, a deal higher than most expected and which illustrated both the faith the Raptors have in him and their fear of another team signing him to an offer sheet. Looking around at the rest of the league, a deal that averaged $35 million per season is star-level money.

Shai-Gilgeous Alexander is making $35.8 million per season on his current contract and he finished Top-3 in MVP voting this season. Jrue Holiday signed a new contract extension with the Boston Celtics last season that will average $33.6 million. Players who signed maximum contracts off their rookie deals from the 2019 class (Quickley entered the league in 2020) are at $39.4 million; that includes Ja Morant, Zion Williamson and Darius Garland.

There is one guard who signed a deal this summer for exactly $35 million, a player with 10 All-Star appearances, seven All-NBA selections and the 2018 MVP award: James Harden.

The LA Clippers traded for Harden during last season and recommitted to a two-year, $70 million contract to keep him as their second star, waving goodbye to Paul George in the process. The contract is obviously shorter than Quickley's due to their ages, but the expectation is the same: the Raptors see Quickley becoming that level of star.

If not, they don't sign Quickley to such a lucrative deal. If not, they don't pay him the same as Harden, a former MVP who led the league in assists as recently as last season and is expected to be a superstar for the Clippers.

That also puts a lot of pressure back on Quickley, who now needs to live up to this contract. Averaging 18.6 points and 6.8 assists per game is solid, especially with 2.8 3-pointers per game at 39.5 percent from deep. It's also not the numbers of a star lead guard, and Quickley will need to increase his volume and his ability to challenge defenses to live up to this deal.

James Harden is not the player he once was, but he's still incredibly effective (especially in the regular season) and is a lofty player to compare to. That's where Quickley hopes to be; perhaps not an MVP, but an All-Star driving the Raptors to new heights and playoff success.

If not, he may not end up living up to his new contract.

Next. 10 Players still available for Raptors to sign in free agency. 10 Players still available for Raptors to sign in free agency. dark