Toronto Raptors: Analyzing the Amnesty Situation with Andrea Bargnani and Linas Kleiza

By Ryan Heckman


Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason doesn’t look so bright for the Toronto Raptors. The team does not currently own a pick in the 2013 NBA Draft due to past trades and will likely have to settle for trying out some undrafted free agents. There have also been major changes in the front office with new president Masai Ujiri coming into play.

One of the hot topics for Toronto this offseason will be the likeliness of the team to use its amnesty clause. At the moment, the Raptors have zero cap space and will likely have to let a few of their expiring contracts go. Coming off the books are Sebastian Telfair, Mickael Pietrus and Alan Anderson.

Point guard Kyle Lowry also has a non-guaranteed contract of over $6 million that will more than likely be picked up. The Raptors lost out on this year’s first round pick to bring in Lowry from the Houston Rockets last year.

With that said, the two most ideal culprits to be used in the amnesty clause will be Linas Kleiza and former first overall pick Andrea Bargnani. Kleiza’s contract would take $4.6 million off the books while Bargnani would knock off $22.25 million off the next two years.

While Bargnani wouldn’t even put Toronto below the cap, it would certainly help the team sign a player to the full mid-level exception if they were looking to do so. Using the clause on Kleiza would put them in a tough spot if they wanted to even fill out the roster without taking several veteran minimum contracts.

There is always a possibility of trading Bargnani, but the likelihood of another team wanting that type of contract is slim to none. The only way they could find a potential suitor is if the deal included another young prospect or two in the deal.

If Toronto could get someone like Kris Humphries back in return, then it would make the deal a potential success. Last year, they attempted to get rid of Bargnani in exchange for Carlos Boozer, but that fell through last minute.

The Raptors are indeed in a rough spot financially and Ujiri is going to have to work his tail off to accomplish any sort of success before the season starts. Competing for a championship is far off, but competing for the eighth spot in the playoffs may not be too crazy to talk about. Ujiri is looking to make some things happen for his team and a move like this would be a monumental swing.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior NBA writer for also contributing to the NFL. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmheckman  or add him to your network on Google.

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