Relive all the epic goals, stunning upsets, and marvelous moments from the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, soundtracked by the Killers’ ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’.

What has long been implied is now on paper: The Toronto Raptors are Scottie Barnes’s team for the foreseeable future.

Barnes and the Raptors will sign a maximum extension to Barnes’ rookie-scale contract once they are allowed to do so on July 6, as first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday. That new contract will pay Barnes an estimated $224.9 million over five years in its basic construction, beginning in 2025-26, and up to $269.9 million if Barnes hits certain escalators in the 2024-25 season. More on the contract details, which are important but not the headline item, in a moment.

In inking Barnes to this maximum allowable extension, the Raptors are confirming what they’ve shown more or less since they selected Barnes with the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft: That they believe he can be a franchise cornerstone for the team in their next contending era.

The realities of the NBA collective bargaining agreement are such that Barnes was always extremely likely to re-sign with the Raptors once his initial four-year deal was done, but Barnes securing the designated player exception – which allows the Raptors to sign him for longer, with escalators beyond the typical maximum for a player of his age – is an important signal of how far he’s grown, and how quickly.

Initially, Barnes could have been looked at as a connective piece between eras, a karmic find as a reward for the awfulness of the Tampa Tank experience (on- and off-court) who could help the Raptors connect the 2019 championship era to their next one.

The Raptors underperformed in 2022-23, leading to a somewhat staggered decision to look toward the future; rather than connect two eras, Barnes’ potential as a star player was an argument in favour of reorienting the team-building around him. Whether the Raptors could have executed the strategy better — reading the tea leaves on Fred VanVleet’s exit, dealing Pascal Siakam earlier – is more open for debate than their investment in Barnes, who reached All-Star status in his breakout third season and took on more responsibility as a leader during a late-season injury stint.

Each successive move and shift in the team’s timeline for contending again has been further evidence that they see Barnes as the new face of the franchise and the cornerstone of its next great team. Monday’s news felt inevitable, with the exception of some finer points of negotiation, and Barnes is now the highest-paid player in Raptors history. No pressure.

(An aside: Most successful high-lottery picks eventually sign rookie-scale extensions, both because that’s good team-building and because players don’t have a ton of options. If Barnes and the Raptors couldn’t come to an agreement on an extension this summer, for example, he would have been a restricted free agent after the season, and the Raptors could have matched any offer sheet he signed elsewhere, offer sheets that could not have paid him as much as the Raptors could have. Barnes could have played out 2025-26 on a one-year contract and become an unrestricted free agent after, like Jimmy Butler did in 2014-15, but that is extremely risky given the size of the potential contracts at play here. Even demanding a trade is difficult with so many years of team control left and little recourse for the player. The NBA’s player empowerment era largely doesn’t apply until a player is on their second contract. Now the clock to keep a player happy begins ticking.)

In most cases, players coming off of their rookie deal are eligible to earn up to 25 per cent of the salary cap on four-year extensions, with eight-per cent non-compounding annual raises. The Raptors are signing Barnes to what’s called a designated rookie extension, allowing them to add one additional year to the deal and allow Barnes to earn up to 30 per cent of the salary cap, instead.

That designated player escalator puts significant pressure on the 2024-25 season for Barnes.

If he is named to the All-NBA First, Second, or Third team, wins Defensi

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