The Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers are closing in on a deal to bring free agent C.J. Miles to Toronto in a sign-and-trade arrangement, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Raptors point guard Cory Joseph will head back to Indiana in the deal.
The details are still being worked out, but the trade should happen, according to Wojnarowski. Miles will sign a three-year deal for around $25 million with a player option for the third year, according to Wojnarowski.
Miles will likely replace the departed DeMarre Carroll in the starting lineup, while Joseph will compete with new Pacers signee Darren Collison for the starting point guard gig.
Miles, a 12-year veteran who can play both wing positions, averaged nearly 11 points per game last year while shooting 41 percent from 3-point range. He will share minutes on the wing with emerging third-year player Norman Powell.
Joseph, who will turn 26 before the start of next season, averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 assists in 25 minutes per contest. He’s a quality backup point guard that provides excellent defense, but not a ton of shooting range. Toronto deemed him expendable and will hand the backup point guard minutes over to third-year man Delon Wright.
Joseph will make $7.6 million next year and has a player option for $7.9 million in 2017-18. The Pacers and Raptors recently discussed a deal that would have seen the Pacers take Joseph into their cap space to lessen Toronto’s luxury-tax bill, but that became less necessary once Toronto sent Carroll -- who makes double Joseph’s salary for the next two years — to the Nets.
Instead, the Pacers still got their guy and Toronto found a better Carroll replacement at around half the price.
C.J. Miles is underrated
It’s hard to find wing players that can shoot the 3 and play passable defense. Miles has been doing that his whole career, and especially with the Pacers last season. Miles was 15th in the NBA in catch-and-shoot points per game last season despite playing fewer minutes than anyone ahead of him.
That skill will be invaluable to a Raptors team that desperately needs spot-up shooting. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will handle the lion’s share of the offense, so the other players need to be able to score without dribbling much. That is Miles’ specialty, which makes him an ideal fit in the starting lineup.
Miles can also tackle the wing defense assignments DeRozan won’t take, though he’s only an average defender.
The only negative is this deal does ensure that Toronto cannot exceed more than about $125 million in team salary this season. Moving Carroll’s $14.8 million salary to Brooklyn does give the Raptors some breathing room in filling out their roster, but that will limit their flexibility.
Cory Joseph is a good add for Indiana
The Pacers don’t seem terribly interested in a full-on rebuild, so snagging Joseph for a player that was leaving anyway is a nice move. Joseph is a versatile player that can handle the ball or play off other ball-handlers. He thrived next to Kyle Lowry and held the fort in the second half of the year with him sidelined.
Expect to see Joseph playing minutes with Darren Collison, Lance Stephenson, and Victor Oladipo at different points of the game.
Toronto, however, could move on from Joseph knowing the backup point guard position is in good hands with Wright. When Lowry went down in the second half of the season, Wright received more minutes and even outplayed Joseph at times. The two are similar players, but Wright is slightly better off the ball and under team control on his rookie contract for two more seasons. With the Raptors facing a luxury-tax payment, that cost difference was important.