Will Raptors use their trade chip?

The approximately $14.5-million US trade exception acquired from Miami in the Chris Bosh sign and...

The approximately $14.5-million US trade exception acquired from Miami in the Chris Bosh sign and trade Friday will give the Raptors many options. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:55 AM ET

The Raptors now own a pretty decent chip as they look to quickly retool their way back to relevance.

The approximately $14.5-million US trade exception acquired from Miami in the Chris Bosh sign and trade Friday will give president/general manager Bryan Colangelo — who has eschewed a total rebuild — many options. Moreso, if Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Ltd. agrees to pay the luxury tax for the first time in franchise history.

The team now has a full year to use all or part of the exception. It cannot be packaged in a trade with a current Raptor, but can be traded for a single player, or a combination of players.

The Raptors have about $62.5 million committed in salary for the 2010-11 season, give or take a million (the future of Joey Dorsey is uncertain). The luxury tax has been set at $70.307 million.

Which means they have two choices: Use roughly half of their Bosh trade exception, staying below the luxury tax and save the rest for next summer or exceed the tax for once by spending most or all of the trade exception.

Many teams are looking to cut salary and there is considerable talent on the market.

It is believed Philadelphia would move Andre Iguodala if it can shed Elton Brand’s horrific contract as well. There has been chatter that New Orleans would dump young point guard Darren Collison if a team absorbs Emeka Okafor’s contract.

Golden State is in cost-cutting mode as it prepares to be sold, so Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins are reportedly on the market.

Detroit’s Rip Hamilton, the Clippers’ Baron Davis and Washington’s Gilbert Arenas are also on the market.

But the Raptors would have to exceed the tax to take any of them on.

The problem the Raptors face is in being outbid. As a result of these unique times, more teams than ever before possess hefty trade exceptions. Phoenix has a $16 million TPE from sending Amare Stoudemire to New York, Utah has one from sign and trading Carlos Boozer to the Chicago Bulls and the Dallas Mavericks have something just as good, Erick Dampier’s $13 million contract, which can be traded but waived immediately.

Depending on the calibre of player desired, it might take more than a trade exception alone to get a deal done for Colangelo since other GMs are sitting at the table with the same chips he has.


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