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Raptors have lost last bit of leverage in Bosh S&T

The Toronto Raptors have signed Lenis Kleiza to a four-year, $20-million offer sheet.

While this means very little by way of increased competition for the Miami Heat next season, it has far-reaching implications for both its All-Star power forward and its potential future Hall-of-Fame small forward.

At the start of the free agent signing period at 12:01 this morning, the Raptors had total maximum available room of $9,782,964 under the salary cap. The team also had a pending commitment to Amir Johnson on a 5-year, $34 million contract. The first year salary on such a contract, by league rule, can be no less than $5,619,835.

As you undoubtedly know by now, an accepted offer sheet is a binding contract between player and team. Therefore, when a team puts forth an offer sheet, it must have reserved the requisite room within the confines of the salary cap. In the Raptors’ case, the offer sheet to Kleiza would start at no less than $4,716,981, making it ethically impossible utilizing the team’s cap space (i.e., impossible without reneging on Johnson).

What does this mean?

It means the Raptors have chosen not to maximize cap space. It means the Raptors have instead decided to enter free agency over the salary cap threshold. It means Johnson will be signed utilizing the team’s Larry Bird exception. And it means Kleiza’s offer sheet was extended by utilizing the vast majority of the team’s mid-level exception.

Best of all, it means the Raptors have now completely lost all leverage in a potential sign-and-trade transaction with the Miami Heat.

If Toronto elects not to engage in such a transaction, it will have virtually no additional room with which to add any outside free agents (its $2.1 million bi-annual exception, as much as $1.1 million remaining of its mid-level-exception, and as many minimum salary contracts as its collective heart desires) for at least the next seven days. The team’s free agency period would, barring any unforeseen trade with seemingly undesirable trade pieces, effectively be over.

Additional room can only come from engaging with the Heat in sign-and-trade discussions. That means the Heat can now basically dictate its terms to Raptors’ general manager Bryan Colangelo. That means no first round draft picks will need to be surrendered. That means Michael Beasley’s salary can be jettisoned, unless you feel that Toronto would be willing to forgo the second year talent and an $11,606,668 trade exception, and instead lose its best trade asset for nothing.

That means Pat Riley can now threaten the man who just two days ago was rumored to have threatened to derail the Bosh-to-Miami scenario by refusing to engage in such sign-and-trade discussions. Payback is a five-letter-word.

That means, if Riley chooses to exert his leverage over an outmatched Colangelo, the Heat can produce the required cap space to offer three max contracts.

Two are reserved. All common logic would now suggest that LeBron will take the third. We’ll find out at 9:00 pm.

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  1. AJ
    July 8th, 2010 at 11:23 | #1

    Would you rather have Bosh via sign and trade or without the sign and trade though? Are you just that anxious to get rid of Beasley?

  2. July 8th, 2010 at 11:31 | #2

    If I may, that wasn’t the true meaning of my post. The true meaning was to suggest that the Heat can now seemingly produce the required cap space for three max contracts if it so chooses. While none of us yet knows what Lebron’s decision will ultimately be, this ability can only help.

  3. Vincent
    July 8th, 2010 at 11:48 | #3

    Beasy is out of here…
    Whether its to the Tor. , Porland or OKLAHOMER where his child-hood
    friend plays Durant….

    Yes I look forward to getting rid of Beasley for a chance at the 3kings of South Beach

    even with no Lebron ,I see Pat Riley trying to bring Haslem back
    as the back up PF…

    Now don’t get me wrong I do like Beasley as a player ..
    The smoothest jumper in the NBA other then Durant and Allen..

    But looking at what the outcome could beome,by get rid of Beasy…

    Vincent is back in the building………….

  4. Jorge
    July 8th, 2010 at 13:44 | #5

    Guys take the post for what it was meant…we can dictate the S&T terms. Also don’t look at getting rid of Beasley…look at what it might bring you.

    I am thrilled that we got Bosh and Wade back. However, while I will not turn LBJ down I like the balanced team that we could build if we don’t get him. It would also allow us to enjoy the competition between the two. Especially since now Wade will have someone to go to battle with. GO HEAT!!!

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