Ranking the Raptors Contracts: 2018-19 Edition

In a league full of bloated contracts, the Toronto Raptors are doing OK. Here are our Toronto Raptors contract-value rankings, based on how much the player is earning in the 2018-2019 NBA season.

The Toronto Raptors are a great team for a variety of factors. One factor is their high, but efficient payroll. Ownership has been willing to spend, but at the same time, Masai Ujiri hasn't grossly overpaid many players. In fact, there are several underpaid players on this roster that deliver a surplus in value. The following is a ranking of the Raptors' players based on how much they are earning solely over the course of the 2018-2019 NBA season. All salaries are rounded for ease.

1) Kawhi Leonard $23.1M (Not Previously Ranked)

Kawhi Leonard is as good as anyone in the league not named LeBron James. Very few teams ever get a shot at having an elite two-way talent like Kawhi Leonard. If the Spurs would have kept Kawhi, they could have offered him the supermax which would have been almost twice this figure annually. Therefore, you could look at his surplus value being roughly $20M.

2) Pascal Siakam $1.5M (Previously Ranked 12th)

Pascal Siakam brings the energy of a guard in a power forward’s body. He was a massive part of the bench mob last season, but this season he’s been given the opportunity to reclaim the starting spot he held as a rookie. What does Siakam do? He can attack the rim, create for others, rebound, and defend. The better question is what does Pascal Siakam not do? He doesn't currently shoot well from distance, but even despite that weakness, he manages to be an extremely effective starter.

3) OG Anunoby $2M (Previously Ranked 4th)

It was clear OG Anunoby was a draft day steal almost immediately, but what was a pleasant surprise was his three-point shooting. It was baffling to see Anunoby left out of the Rising Stars Challenge and off both All-Rookie teams last season. After showing up on the big stage in the playoffs, everyone finally knows his name. The modern NBA favors forwards who can guard multiple positions. Anunoby can currently guard at least three positions, but by the end of the season, we will probably be able to say four with confidence. There is a reason why OG Anunoby is the Raptors' most untouchable asset.

4) Delon Wright $2.5M (Previously Ranked 9th)

Much like Anunoby, Delon Wright has shown the ability to guard three positions. The only things Delon needs to secure a big payday this summer are confidence and good health.

5) Fred VanVleet $8.7M (Previously Ranked 10th)

The odds have been against Fred VanVleet from the start. He’s undersized and went undrafted, but those things haven’t mattered. Last year he had a great deal of success playing with the bench unit and playing crunch time with the starters. He also shot the lights out from deep. This year he’s become more aggressive attacking the rim and finding the open man. It was a shock when no one tried to steal VanVleet away with an offer sheet this past summer, but teams will once again regret betting against him.

6) Kyle Lowry $31.2M (Previously Ranked 2nd)

The narrative that Kyle Lowry doesn’t show up in the playoffs is finally dead after he shot 50.8% from the field and 44.4% from three in last year's playoffs. Now at the age of 32, Lowry looks better than ever. It’s unclear what his trade value would be, but to the Raptors, Kyle is a sure-fire all-star and becoming a yearly All-NBA candidate. If the Raptors find success in the playoffs this time around, it could lead to him re-signing in 2020 at a reduced salary and eventually retiring a Toronto Raptor.

7) Danny Green $10M (Not Previously Ranked)

It's hard to imagine that the Spurs were trying to trade Danny Green prior to this summer. It’s early in the season, but he’s been great on both ends of the floor. You don’t often find two-way players like this in free agency for the low low price of $10M.

8) Jonas Valanciunas $16.5M (Previously Ranked 6th)

Lithuanian Lightning is worth every penny, but maybe not a penny more. Valanciunas has a unique combination of scoring (volume), rebounding, and shooting. He might not be a modern rim-protecting center, but when he plays he produces. If Valanciunas ever got to play 30 minutes per game he’d have legitimate shot at an all-star selection.

9) Greg Monroe $2.2M (Not Previously Ranked)

How many third string centers in the NBA are better than Monroe? Probably not many. If Serge Ibaka or Jonas Valanciunas were to get injured, he could step in as the backup and play 15-20 minutes per game no problem. No team would likely be willing to give up anything for Greg Monroe, but at the veteran minimum, very few teams would object to having him on their roster.

10) Serge Ibaka $21.7M (Previously Ranked 8th)

Transitioning from power forward to center seems to have reinvigorated Ibaka. By the time the playoffs rolled around last season, he looked old and slow. The only way the Raptors could have unloaded Serge Ibaka this summer would have been to attach assets. Even playing the way he currently is he's probably still insanely difficult to move, but playing like he’s the Raptors third best player doesn’t hurt. The odds that Ibaka looks this good in April are low. However, if he’s better than last year, that’s still an improvement.

11) Norman Powell $9.4M (Previously Ranked 1st)

After a horrendous season, Powell’s extension now kicks in. The early returns are certainly positive; if he continues to hit his shots he’ll be a solid role player. At 25 years old, Norman Powell can still continue to improve, even if he may never become a star. There is probably no surplus value in Powell’s contract, but him being properly paid wouldn’t be a bad thing.

12) CJ Miles $8.3M (Previously Ranked 7th)

Coming off a career year with the Pacers, the Raptors felt the need to invest in CJ Miles. He was a little disappointing with the Raptors last season, but still filled a need. However, in the early-going, Miles looks even worse than last season. His one skill is three-point shooting and even that isn’t happening. Miles has noticeably made an effort defensively, but it’s just not paying off. Even if his shot comes back the Raptors don’t really need him. If the Raptors wanted to dump his contract to save money on the luxury tax bill they might be able to do it.

13) Lorenzo Brown $1.6M (Previously Ranked 16th)

Being a G-League star doesn’t mean you can play in the NBA. Lorenzo Brown has looked like an NBA player for roughly five minutes. In the rest of his playing time, he has shown a lack of basketball IQ or any real fundamentals of the game. When the Raptors are fully healthy he should not see the hardwood aside from garbage time.

14) Chris Boucher $77k (Not Previously Ranked)

It's really difficult to evaluate two-way players. Boucher hasn’t had much of an opportunity with the Raptors, but would he even be on the team if he wasn’t Canadian?

15) Jordan Loyd $77k (Not Previously Ranked)

Jordan Loyd didn’t look like anything special in summer league. He was fine, but fine in summer league doesn’t mean you belong in the NBA. Furthermore, Loyd probably only has this spot because the Raptors were unable to sign Rawle Alkins, who outplayed him in Vegas.

16) Malachi Richardson $1.6M (Not Previously Ranked)

The Raptors have declined their 4th-year option on Malachi Richardson. This means he likely doesn’t have a future with the team. Therefore, the Raptors really have no incentive to continue giving him minutes or trying to develop him.

The Raptors don’t have a lot of bad money on the books, but would currently have to pay a significant luxury tax bill. If they were desperate to save some money, the Raptors may try to move one of Norman Powell or CJ Miles by the deadline. Additionally, the Raptors did save some money when they replaced Dwane Casey with Nick Nurse. It may not affect the cap sheet, but it puts some money back in MLSE's wallet.

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