Could the Toronto Raptors be primed to add another marquee name to its lineup before the NBA's Feb. 21 trade deadline?
An ESPN.com report states that the Raptors have been involved in exploratory trade discussions with Chicago about a potential deal that would send Andrea Bargnani to the Bulls in exchange for power forward Carlos Boozer.
ESPN.com's sources stated that additional players would need to be moving in the deal to accommodate the salary cap obligations of both teams.
Adding Boozer would push the Raptors into luxury tax territory, as the 31-year-old is owed more than $32 million over the next two years, in addition to the remaining cash he is owed on this season's $15 million salary.
By contrast, Bargnani is owed $23 million over the next two years and is making $5 million less than Boozer this season.
The Raptors added more than $17 million to its 2013-14 payroll by acquiring Gay, who also carries a player option for 2014-15 worth over $19 million. The team's total salary obligations are $65.9 million for this season.
Boozer had been believed to be an amnesty candidate prior to this season, according to the ESPN.com report, but has elevated his play since the turn of the calendar, averaging 19.5 points and 10.1 rebounds in January.
Bargnani has drawn criticism for his play for the Raptors this season. The team is 4-19 with Bargnani in the lineup so far this season.
The 2006 first-overall draft pick has played his entire seven-year NBA career in Toronto, averaging 15.4 points and a .361 three-point percentage in 30.6 minutes per game.
The luxury tax line for this season is set at $70.307 million. Teams over that number will have to pay dollar-for-dollar in luxury tax.
Stricter new rules will kick in for the 2013-14 season that will result in higher taxes above the luxury line and additional penalties for consistent over-spending.