Raptors Rumors

Salaries For Kenrich Williams, Others To Become Guaranteed

There was never any real doubt that Kenrich Williams would make the Pelicans‘ regular season roster, but doing so will give him some financial security. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), Williams is one of three players who will have his salary for 2019/20 fully guaranteed today, barring any last-minute roster moves.

Williams, 24, emerged as a rotation player for the Pelicans last season, averaging 6.1 PPG and 4.8 RPG in 46 games (23.5 MPG). He’ll likely see regular minutes to start this season too, as New Orleans doesn’t have a ton of depth at the forward position now that Darius Miller is out for the season and Zion Williamson will miss six to eight weeks.

Williams’ $1,416,852 salary for ’19/20 had already been partially guaranteed for $200K, per Basketball Insiders’ contract data. After today, he’ll become the 14th Pelican with a fully guaranteed contract for this season, leaving Jahlil Okafor as the only player on a non-guaranteed deal.

[RELATED: 2019/20 Non-Guaranteed Contracts By Team]

Here are the other players who will receive salary guarantees if they remain under contract through today, per Marks:

  • Chris Boucher (Raptors): $125,000 partial guarantee increases to full guarantee of $1,588,231.
  • Malcolm Miller (Raptors): $150,000 partial guarantee increases to full guarantee of $1,588,231.
  • Ryan Anderson (Rockets): $250,000 partial guarantee increases to $500,000 partial guarantee (full salary is $2,564,753 with a $1,620,564 cap hit).

Miller Relieved To Make 15-Man Roster

  • Malcolm Miller has made an NBA roster at the start of a season for the first time and he’s breathing a sigh of relief, Blake Murphy of The Athletic relays. The 26-year-old forward won a training camp battle for a spot on the Raptors’ roster. “Like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Like a huge exhale,” Miller said. “Two years of back and forth, but now it’s finally official. I feel like I’ve laid two years of groundwork, so I’m more than ready to attack it at full speed.”
  • Miller’s G League rights were traded to the Northern Arizona Suns along with the 21st pick in the G League draft for guard Jawun Evans, Murphy tweets. However, this won’t affect Miller’s status with the Raptors. They can still assign him to Raptors 905 despite not holding his G League rights because he’s on the 15-man roster.

Raptors To Sign Shamorie Ponds To Two-Way Deal

The Raptors are signing rookie guard Shamorie Ponds to a two-way contract, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets.

Ponds was waived by the Rockets over the weekend.

Ponds, a 6’1″ guard out of St. John’s, averaged 19.7 PPG, 5.1 APG, 4.1 RPG and 2.6 SPG in 33 games during his junior year in 2018/19 but went undrafted. He appeared in three preseason games with Houston, averaging 2.3 PPG in 6.7 MPG.

Toronto filled its other two-way spot earlier in the day by inking forward Oshae Brissett to a similar contract. Ponds and Brissett will be eligible to spend up to 45 days in the NBA on their two-way contracts, but will likely play primarily for the Raptors 905.

How Rose Rule Affects Pascal Siakam’s Extension

Pascal Siakam‘s new contract extension with the Raptors, which will go into effect in 2020/21, is being called a maximum-salary contract, but the actual value of his salaries on that deal will vary depending on two key factors.

The first factor is where the NBA’s salary cap lands for the 2020/21 season, since a player’s maximum starting salary is based on a percentage of the cap. The standard maximum salary for a player like Siakam with fewer than seven years of NBA experience is 25% of the cap.

The league’s most recent salary cap projection estimated a $116MM cap for ’20/21, but that figure is subject to change, particularly if the NBA/China controversy significantly affects the league’s bottom line. Assuming the cap does come in at $116MM, 25% of that figure would work out to $29MM. Siakam would receive 8% raises annually, for a total of $129.92MM over four seasons.

However, according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link), Siakam’s new deal with the Raptors also includes “Rose Rule” language. As we outline in our glossary entry on the subject, the Rose Rule allows a player with fewer than seven years of NBA experience to qualify for a higher maximum salary (up to 30% of the cap) if he meets certain criteria.

The rule is named for Derrick Rose, who won the MVP award during his third season in the league. If Siakam matches that feat in his fourth NBA season in 2019/20, his starting salary would be worth 30% of the cap, per Grange.

Making an All-NBA team also allows a player to qualify for that higher max, and teams and players are permitted to negotiate various starting salaries between 25-30% depending on which specific All-NBA team a player makes.

In Siakam’s case, his starting salary will be worth 28% of the cap if he makes the All-NBA Second Team or 29% if he makes the First Team, according to Grange. It appears that a Third Team nod wouldn’t affect Siakam’s starting salary.

The upshot? Here are the four different forms that Siakam’s four-year extension could take, based on a $116MM cap, depending on whether he receives any major honors or awards during the 2019/20 season:

Year Standard (25%) All-NBA 2nd Team (28%) All-NBA 1st Team (29%) MVP (30%)
’20/21 $29,000,000 $32,480,000 $33,640,000 $34,800,000
’21/22 $31,320,000 $35,078,400 $36,331,200 $37,584,000
’22/23 $33,640,000 $37,676,800 $39,022,400 $40,368,000
’23/24 $35,960,000 $40,275,200 $41,713,600 $43,152,000
Total $129,920,000 $145,510,400 $150,707,200 $155,904,000

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raptors Convert Oshae Brissett To Two-Way Contract

The Raptors have set their roster for the start of the regular season, announcing today in a press release that they’ve converted Oshae Brissett‘s Exhibit 10 contract into a two-way deal.

A native of Mississauga, Ontario – the home of the Raptors’ G League affiliate –  Brissett played two seasons at Syracuse before forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility and entering the 2019 draft. Although he wasn’t selected in June, he quickly caught on with the Clippers for Summer League, then signed with the Raptors later in July.

The 6’8″ forward, who averaged 13.7 PPG and 8.2 RPG in his two seasons at Syracuse, will be eligible to spend up to 45 days in the NBA on his two-way contract, but figures to play primarily for the Raptors 905.

Toronto now has 15 players on standard contracts and one on a two-way contract. Chris Boucher, Malcolm Miller, and Dewan Hernandez don’t have fully guaranteed salaries, but all three players are poised to make the 15-man roster to start the season. The team could also add another two-way player later today, though there’s no rush to do so before opening night.

Atlantic Notes: Smart, Raptors, Dinwiddie, Kyrie

The Celtics‘ backcourt has undergone some major changes in recent years, from Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley to Kyrie Irving to Kemba Walker. Through it all, Marcus Smart has been the one constant, having averaged 27 or more minutes per game for Boston for each of the last five seasons.

According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Smart said he sometimes thinks about the possibility of spending his entire career with the Celtics, which is something he’d love to do. As Himmelsbach relays, Smart recognizes that player movement is a big part of today’s NBA, but would like to “be a part of something special” in Boston.

“I’m six years in now, and it feels like yesterday I was drafted,” the Celtics’ guard said. “It is funny to see all the faces I’ve seen come through the organization. But it’s a blessing and I’m blessed to be here still, and that’s rare. Usually guys are gone by now. I’m blessed to still be here.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • While the loss of Kawhi Leonard represented the Raptors‘ most significant roster shakeup this summer, the departure of starting shooting guard Danny Green shouldn’t be overlooked, as Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun writes. “He’s not flashy, his game isn’t very sexy, but I don’t know what he shot, 45% from three? Something crazy like that, at a high clip, played 80 games, played every night, guarded the best players on the other teams and he’s just solid every night,” Fred VanVleet said of Green. “… He didn’t do a lot of preaching and teaching, he just was here and (led) by example and we’ll miss that.”
  • Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie has another meeting scheduled with the NBA today to discuss his plan to “tokenize” his contract, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The league previously said Dinwiddie’s plan violates the CBA but he views the new meeting as a “good faith” gesture and is hopeful an agreement can be reached, as he tweeted this morning. Meanwhile, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com offers an interesting look at the specifics of Dinwiddie’s proposal.
  • Kyrie Irving wasn’t thrilled that details of the Nets‘ and Lakers‘ Shanghai meeting with commissioner Adam Silver earlier this month leaked to the press, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “You want to keep those meetings private,” Irving said. “I don’t know how it necessarily materialized into a big story. I don’t know whose notes or who was in there that we can’t depend on to keep a conversation like that in-house.”
  • Speaking of Irving, his former teammate Marcus Morris believes the Knicks‘ locker room will be healthier this season than the Celtics‘ was last season in part because New York doesn’t have a superstar player to cater to. “No knock on Ky, but obviously he’s a superstar, he’s first,” Morris said, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “Sometimes his emotions were put in front of the team.”

Raptors Sign Pascal Siakam To Four-Year Max Extension

OCTOBER 21: The Raptors’ four-year, maximum-salary extension with Siakam is now official, the team announced today in a press release.

“Pascal has been relentless in everything he has achieved,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said in a statement. “He has embraced our development philosophies from Day One, he’s one of us and a unique talent. He has improved himself every season without cutting any corners. He is a testament to hard work paying off and we’re thrilled that he will continue his career here in Toronto.”

As we relayed on Sunday, the starting salary on Siakam’s extension can reportedly increase to up to 30% of the cap rather than 25% if he earns a spot on the All-NBA First Team or Second Team – or wins the MVP award – in 2020.

OCTOBER 19: The Raptors have reached an agreement with forward Pascal Siakam on a four-year contract extension that will be worth the maximum salary, agents Todd Ramasar and Jaafar Choufani have informed ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe (Twitter link). The deal doesn’t feature any team or player options, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Siakam, the NBA’s reigning Most Improved Player, took a huge step forward in his third NBA season, averaging 16.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 3.1 APG on .549/.369/.785 shooting in 80 games (31.9 MPG). The 25-year-old also showed the ability to guard all five positions and played an important role as the Raptors made a Finals run and earned the first championship in franchise history.

With Kawhi Leonard no longer on the Raptors’ roster, Siakam is poised to take on an even greater role in 2019/20 and beyond. The organization views him as the future “face of the franchise,” tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

Siakam is the third player eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason to receive a maximum-salary deal, joining Ben Simmons (Sixers) and Jamal Murray (Nuggets). Simmons and Murray each received five-year extensions, while Siakam got four years — his new deal will lock him up through the 2023/24 season.

[RELATED: 2019/20 NBA Contract Extension Tracker]

Siakam’s exact salaries on his extension will depend on where exactly the NBA’s salary cap lands for the 2020/21 season. Based on the league’s most recent projections, his deal would start at $29MM and would be worth a total of $129.92MM. He’ll earn $2.35MM in 2019/20, the final year of his rookie contract.

With a $30.5MM extension for Kyle Lowry also recently added to the books for 2020/21, the Raptors no longer project to be among the teams with the most cap room next summer. Still, the club could have some flexibility below the cap, with Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, and Fred VanVleet all on expiring contracts this season.

Now that Siakam’s deal is done, Jaylen Brown (Celtics), Buddy Hield (Kings), and Domantas Sabonis (Pacers) are among the most notable young players still eligible for rookie scale extensions before Monday’s deadline.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lakers, Pistons Among Teams With Roster Moves Still To Make

NBA teams have until 5:00pm eastern time today to set their rosters for the 2019/20 regular season. Clubs can continue to make roster moves after that deadline, but when the clock strikes five, no team will be permitted to have more than 15 players on standard contracts and two on two-way deals.

[RELATED: 2019/20 NBA Roster Counts]

Currently, there are seven teams that haven’t yet reached that regular-season limit. One of those seven teams, the Rockets, will reportedly convert Chris Clemons‘ standard contract to a two-way deal today, making official a move that was reported last Thursday.

Two other clubs will make similar moves — the Raptors and Wizards are each carrying 16 players on standard contracts but have open two-way contract slots. Toronto is expected to convert Oshae Brissett to a two-way deal, while Washington will likely do the same for Chris Chiozza.

That leaves just four teams with actual cuts to make. Here’s a breakdown of those four clubs:

  • Detroit Pistons (16 standard contracts, 2 two-way contracts): The Pistons have 14 players with fully guaranteed salaries and intend to retain Christian Wood, who is on a non-guaranteed contract. That means they’ll have to either waive Joe Johnson – their other non-guaranteed player – or find a trade that allows them to create room on the regular-season roster for Johnson.
  • Los Angeles Lakers (17 standard contracts, 2 two-way contracts): In addition to their 14 players with guaranteed salaries, the Lakers are also carrying Dwight Howard, Devontae Cacok, and Demetrius Jackson. I’d be shocked if anyone but Howard claims the 15th roster spot, but we’ll see what the team’s plans are for Cacok and Jackson. Theoretically, each of them could be converted to a two-way contract, but current two-way players Zach Norvell Jr. and/or Kostas Antetokounmpo would have to be waived in that scenario.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (16 standard contracts, 2 two-way contracts): The Timberwolves have 15 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving Tyrone Wallace and his non-guaranteed contract as the most likely odd man out. If Minnesota decides to keep Wallace, it would need to trade or release a player with a guaranteed deal.
  • Utah Jazz (16 standard contracts, 2 two-way contracts): The Jazz have four players without fully guaranteed salaries, but two of those players – Royce O’Neale and Georges Niang – are presumably locks to stick around. Utah’s decision figures to come down to Stanton Kidd vs. William Howard. Kidd $250K partial guarantee is more substantial than Howard’s $50K, which may help give him the upper hand.

It’s possible that a few more teams will make roster changes today, but the league’s other 23 clubs are currently at or below the regular-season maximum.

Raptors Notes: Siakam, Anunoby, Bench

Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes how the Raptors locking up Pascal Siakam to a long-term extension may be a byproduct of how the Spurs ended up losing Kawhi Leonard, the player that helped the Raptors win the franchise’s first ever championship last season.

Like Leonard when he was in San Antonio, Siakam was destined for a maximum contract after the Raptors won last season’s title. Like San Antonio had then, Toronto has plenty of cap space this upcoming summer.

Unlike the Spurs, the Raptors didn’t wait to lock up Siakam. As Koreen writes, they want him around and they want him happy. The long-term benefits outweigh the short term repercussion of less cap space.

There’s more this afternoon from Toronto:

  • Per Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, forward OG Anunoby, in a rare podium session, says that he lost 15 pounds following the rupture of his appendix just as last season’s magical postseason run got underway.
  • Michael Grange of Rogers Sportsnet provides some more details on the incentives in the rookie-scale contract extension signed by Siakam, writing that the 25-year-old forward will receive a starting salary worth up to 30% of the cap (not the typical 25%) if he earns First or Second Team All-NBA or is named the MVP this season. That would make Siakam’s four-year extension worth as much as a projected $155.9MM instead of $129.9MM.
  • Head coach Nick Nurse still appears to be rather displeased with some of his newly-signed bench players, reports William Lou of Yahoo Sports Canada. Nurse lauded Stanley Johnson for his defense and effort and Matt Thomas for his offense, but seemed less than enthusiastic about the other side of the ball for both players.

Raptors Sign, Waive Tyler Ennis

Point guard Tyler Ennis, who has spent time with four NBA teams, signed with the Raptors Saturday and was immediately waived, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. The moves were designed to make Ennis an affiliate player for the organization’s G League team, Raptors 905 (Twitter link).

Ennis, who played in Turkey last year, is still recovering from a fractured right tibia that wiped out almost his entire season. The Raptors have liked Ennis, who was born in Canada, for several years and believe he could eventually provide depth in the backcourt.

Ennis was selected by the Suns with the 18th pick in the 2014 draft, but only appeared in eight games before being traded to the Bucks. He also had brief stops with the Rockets and Lakers before being waived in June of 2018.