Salary cap implications of Siakam max deal

The Toronto Raptors wasted no time locking up their young star: Pascal Siakam. Inking him to a four-year, $130M max extension before the season tips off on Tuesday.

The Siakam deal is the second extension Masai Ujiri has dealt out this offseason for past 2019-20 after he gave franchise legend Kyle Lowry a one year extension worth $31 million.

Most people view the 2019-20 season a victory lap for the Raptors. With a repeat appearance back to the finals not expected, the pressure is low on the reigning champions. But although winning the Larry O’Brien trophy still feels great to all Raptors fans, Ujiri has already begun looking towards the future.

A lot of money is set to come off of the books at the end of this season. Namely, the combined $48 million being paid to Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. But now we know a little more about the cap situation for 2020-21.

Without counting minimum or entry level deals, the Raptors now have four players under contract for 2020-21. Five, including OG Anunoby’s club option ($3,872,215) which the Raptors exercised at the beginning of October. The four are, Kyle Lowry ($31 million), Pascal Siakam ($32.5 million), Norman Powell ($10,865,952), and Patrick McCaw ($4 million). Stanley Johnson also has a player option for $3,801,000. If he picks up that option, the Raptors would have a payroll of $86,039,167 for 2020-21 (not including minimums or entry levels).

The cap for the 2019-20 season is $109.14 million. It’s projected to rise to around $116 million for 2020-21, which would leave the Raptors with around $30 million in space.

The only other significant free agent the Raptors having coming up at season-end is Fred VanVleet. I don’t see Marc Gasol returning after this season and while it’s possible that Serge Ibaka returns, I don’t find it likely. VanVleet is set to make $9 million this season and I would expect to see him sign an extension in the range of $12 million per season. Maybe 2/$25M. That would leave the Raptors with $18 million left.

But here’s the thing about the minimums and entry levels that I alluded to earlier: the Raptors have five of them on the books for next year. Those five are, Cameron Payne, Isaiah Taylor, Terence Davis, Dewan Hernandez, and Matt Thomas. Those five salaries added together total $8,293,750. Now all of a sudden the Raptors only have around $10 million left to play with.

Do you go into the tax to keep Ibaka around? I doubt it. But the Raptors will need to spend some of that cash on a centre. As of right now, Dewan Hernandez is the only one under contract for 2020-21. Depending on his development this upcoming year, Chris Boucher (who is a FA at seasons end) could fill a backup role, but someone needs to start at the five.

Here are the expected top ten centres in the 2020 free agent class:

Next offseason could be a quiet one for the Raptors, apart from some small moves. But the two biggest stars in Toronto basketball are locked up and I’m sure that’ll ease the minds of all Raptors fans.

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