In a blockbuster NBA offseason trade, the San Antonio Spurs send 2x All-NBA 1st Team and 2x NBA Defensive Player of the Year SF Kawhi Leonard to Toronto in exchange for 4x NBA All-Star SG DeMar DeRozan.
Because neither team was under the salary cap for 2018-2019, salary matching came into play here. Masai Ujiri and RC Buford came to agree on the trade at present, which fits for a simultaneous trade. Toronto will gain a $2.95M trade exception from this trade, as 125% of DeRozan’s salary (+$100k — CBA rule) covers the incoming salary from the Spurs. The exception is for the value of Poeltl’s contract.
One thing to note is that the Toronto Raptors did not have a 1st Round Pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Per the Stepien rule, the Raptors were not allowed to trade their 2019 1st Round Pick until the 2018 NBA Draft passed, as they are not allowed to have consecutive years in which they do not hold a 1st Round Pick (theirs or another team’s). However, because the 2018 NBA Draft is in the past, 2019 NBA Draft becomes the current year and 2020 NBA Draft is the following. Thus, the Raptors are allowed to trade their 2019 1st Round pick completely unprotected (though they protected it 1-20) because they still retain their 2020 1st Round pick.
Kawhi has three options in 2019: opting into his contract at $21,329,752.00, signing a max extension with the Toronto Raptors, or opting out of his contract and entering free agency. A max extension with Toronto would be for 5 years/$189.6M, while a team with cap space could offer a 4 year/$140.6M deal in free agency.
It is important to remember that Kawhi passed up on a 5 year/$221M Supermax extension with the San Antonio Spurs. If Kawhi opts into his 2019 contract, he will enter 2020 as an 9-YOS unrestricted free agent. If Toronto can get him to resign to a 1+1, he can opt out in 2021 and be eligible again for a max deal, this time with the Raptors. This max deal would be for a 10-YOS veteran, again reaching the 35% of the cap that he gave up in the Supermax. It would be for a value of 5 years/$247.3M, or roughly $49.5M averaged per year.
The Spurs still have $2.8M of the Non-Taxpayer MLE left, and also the full $3.4M Biannual Exception (which would hard cap them if used). Their roster stands at 15 players. It is safe to guess that either or both Brandon Paul, who has an 8/1 guarantee date, or Manu Ginobili will not be on the roster when the season starts, and that would free up one to two roster spots. They will look to sign a player at the veteran’s minimum or the remainder of the Non-Taxpayer MLE to complete the roster. Look for them to target a veteran point guard such as Jarrett Jack.
As it stands, the Spurs sit with $117.1M in salaries committed (no Manu, including Paul), which puts them $15.3M over the cap and $6.6M below the tax line.
I'm Jake, a recent graduate of Duke University pursuing a career in collegiate or professional basketball operations.
Cap #s 2018 - 2019
Salary Cap: $101.869M
Lux. Tax: $123.733M
Tax Apron: $129.827M
Tax Floor: $91.682M
Room MLE: $4.45M