How does NBA’s projected salary cap affect Lowry’s next contract?

Kyle Lowry had 27 points and 10 assists in his return from a wrist injury, and the Toronto Raptors rallied to beat the Detroit Pistons 105-102 on Wednesday night.

On Thursday night, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported the league’s salary cap is projected to rise $7 million to $101 million in 2017–18.

That’s a substantial bump, but smaller than many early guesses (some said the cap could rise to as high as $107 million). It’s also nowhere near the jump experienced between 2015–16 ($70 million) and the current year ($94 million).

So what does that mean for Toronto’s most high-profile expected free agent, Kyle Lowry?

As a Bird free agent with more than 10 years of experience in the league, Lowry can sign a five-year deal starting at 35 per cent of the current cap with eight per cent annual raises if he stays with his current team. (That eight per cent figure is new as of the recently renegotiated CBA.)

Here’s what that looks like:

2017–18: $35,350,000
2018–19: (+8% raise, or $2,474,500) $38,178,000
2019–20: (+8% raise, or $2,474,500) $40,652,500
2020–21: (+8% raise, or $2,474,500) $43,127,000
2021–22: (+8% raise, or $2,474,500) $45,601,500
Total: 5 years, $202,909,000
Avg. salary: $40,581,800

If Lowry wants to sign elsewhere, he can get the same starting salary, but will max out at four years with only five per cent raises.

Here’s the breakdown for that:

2017–18: $35,350,000
2018–19: (+5% raise, or $1,767,500) $37,117,500
2019–20: (+5% raise, or $1,767,500) $38,885,000
2020–21: (+5% raise, or $1,767,500) $40,652,500
Total: 4 years, $152,005,000
Avg. salary: $38,001,250

So if you’re hoping for a Lowry return next season — as many Raptors fans will be — you can rest assured knowing that he has a ton of extra incentive to do so.

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