Toronto Raptors should prioritize salary cap flexibility at trade deadline

With the NBA trade deadline quickly approaching, the Toronto Raptors are expected to be buyers but also have to be mindful of their salary cap.

The Toronto Raptors have shown they are willing to make a splash at the NBA trade deadline but making a move won’t be so cut and dry this season as some recent developments could impact their approach.

It was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the salary cap for the 2020-2021 season will increase from $109.1 million to $115 million, not too far off from the original projection but something that the Raptors will have to keep in mind.

A team like the Raptors will have to keep an eye on the $139 million luxury tax threshold because that will impact how the operate after this season. Part of the reason is that they have some significant salary commitments.

Pascal Siakam‘s max deal will kick in with an estimated $28.75 million salary for next season along with Kyle Lowry‘s $30 million. Other than that the Raptors have found a way to keep their options open next season but that can easily change based on what happens at the trade deadline.

Right now the Raptors’ salaries equal to roughly $125 million which keeps them below the luxury tax threshold which sits at $132.63 million. So they have $16 million to work with but can make more room if they trade away a player in a deal.

As Steven Loung of Sportsnet pointed out, the Raptors have a couple of factors to keep in mind including Fred VanVleet‘s pending free agent status. There is no doubting the Raptors need to find a way to keep VanVleet around and he could command a deal in the $25 million range per season.

What this also means is that Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster will have to keep in mind any potential player that might have a contract beyond this season. The Raptors have put themselves on a path to go after a big free agent in the summer of 2021.

Part of the team’s plan to attract a free agent has to come with having an established core and the opportunity to compete. That can’t happen without trying their best to compete this season.

Next: Expect Ujiri to be aggressive at trade deadline

What do you think the Raptors should do at the trade deadline? Should they be worried about any salary cap implications? Let us know in the comments below. 

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