Raptors cap scenarios: How Kyle Lowry’s future could dictate the path taken in free agency

Title: Raptors cap scenarios: How Kyle Lowry’s future could dictate the path taken in free agency
Date: July 19, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I took a look at the different paths the Raptors could take in free agency and how Kyle Lowry’s future could affect if they operate above or below the cap.

The NBA calendar does not allow for a great deal of recalibration between the draft and the beginning of free agency. Preparing for one, really, means preparing for both, and not only because any number of draft-night trades could shift the free agency landscape. While the focus of Raptors fans is understandably on the No. 4 selection on July 29, it’s worth keeping in mind that some 93 or 94 hours later, free agency will begin.

Well, kind of. As usual, there’s a moratorium period in which only a few moves are actually allowed, and most contracts can’t be officially signed until Aug. 6 at noon. For the purposes of news reporting and, more importantly, fan reactions, free agency begins at 6 p.m. ET on Aug. 2. All of that preamble is to say that I’m aware you might be very draft-minded right now, but we’re going to work in some free agency content this week. I simply can’t rely on you logging on to be properly informed over a weekend in Toronto (or wherever you are) in early August.

In recent years, the Raptors’ path in free agency has been somewhat straightforward. Where it was complicated, it was complicated by external factors that they were waiting on and reacting to. Kawhi Leonard would either leave, stay on a short deal or stay on a long deal, and whichever of those three he chose, everything else would flow naturally, if through restricted passageways. Last year’s truncated offseason hinged on whether Serge Ibaka and/or Marc Gasol were amenable to shorter deals to come back, and while it can be reasonably argued that situation was fumbled, Leonard’s 2019 departure set up a very clear two-year transition window where those tough now-or-later decisions would probably frustrate. (That Leonard, Gasol, Ibaka and Danny Green left in free agency over two summers was part of the argument for turning impending free agent Norman Powell into a longer-term asset at the deadline.)

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