Raptors get spending help

Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo could have a bit more cash to spend on free agents. (Dave Abel, QMI...

Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo could have a bit more cash to spend on free agents. (Dave Abel, QMI Agency)

Ryan Wolstat, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:21 PM ET

The Raptors might get an unexpected gift when the NBA lockout officially concludes.

The remainder of the traded player exception (TPE) the team acquired when Chris Bosh was dealt to the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade could be returned to the team. About $9 million U.S. is left on the TPE after the rest was used to facilitate moves last season.

According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, “NBA execs (are) expecting to get lost time back on trade exceptions that expired in lockout.”

The Raptors had just over a week remaining on the year-long exception when the lockout got underway on July 1.

President/general manager Bryan Colangelo is keeping quiet until the legal I’s and T’s have been dotted, but, based on his previous comments, don’t bet on the TPE being utilized.

For one thing, with five roster spots to fill but just $7 million in cap space to do so (plus an extra $2.9 million or so once the season starts and 2011 first round pick Jonas Valanciunas remains in Lithuania), spending it all would put the team over the cap. Spending a good chunk of it would put the Raptors uncomfortably close, with a number of roster spots still to be slotted in.

Also, Cleveland has its own $14.5 million TPE and a few other teams have smaller ones. Plus, with new amnesty rules, teams have other options to get rid of players they don’t want.

Team facilities around the league will open on Thursday for players for the first time since the lockout began.

Coaches and executives are barred, but trainers and medical staffs can be present. However, they can’t work directly with the players, who currently are in the process of re-forming and ratifying the new collective bargaining agreement.

Agents were given permission to start talking to teams about free agent contracts on Wednesday morning, though no verbal or written deals can be signed before Dec. 9, the expected start of training camp and free agency.

AROUND THE RIM

Orlando GM Otis Smith has changed his tune about not entertaining trade offers for Dwight Howard. Though he’d prefer to sign the league’s top centre to an extension, Smith told the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday that “You have to look at everything ... figure out where he wants to be ... and then you have to make the best decision of what’s in the best interests of the franchise.” New Jersey wants to both re-sign Deron Williams, and deal for Howard, with a package featuring Brook Lopez going the other way. Meanwhile, faced with heavy speculation that he wants to be a New York Knick, Chris Paul said his “heart is in New Orleans.” But for how long is the question?

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca

 


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