Necessary information:

2013 NBA Free Agents

NBA salary information

For the Raptors to have any shot at the type of free agents people seem to be dreaming about (I'm not going to lie, I am included in the dreaming), the Raps need to acquire Gasol. Why? I am glad you asked.

Raps are currently a tax team next year. Unless they drop $15M before July 1st they can't sign a top tier PF free agent. Luxury tax teams cannot sign and trade. I also do not believe you can execute a sign and trade that takes you in to the luxury.

Also, Raps would only have MLE to make an offer. Many of the free agents we dream about are going to be much more expensive than $5M per season.

So why Gasol? Because he has more value that any of Raptors assets which are available.

Steps for the Raptors to make to have a chance in free agency:

1) Acquire Gasol before trade deadline (Bargnani/Fields).
2) Send him to MIN July 1st.
3) MIN has just $36M guaranteed and likely $49M.
4) Hope cap goes up by rumoured $5M.
5) Amnesty Kleiza.
6) Trade Gasol to MIN for one of Ridnour/Barea (backup PG) and the Wolves 1st rd pick after July 1st.
7) I believe this would create a large trade exception for Toronto ($14-15M).
8) Raps are now under luxury tax and able to do sign and trade (much like how Lakers got Nash but that was before new CBA rule of no tax team doing S&T).
9) Make offer to Millsap/Smith and hope the signing elsewhere for nothing entices Jazz or Hawks to accept a 2nd rd pick or two as compensation.

The talk/hope/dreams of Smith or Millsap would have to go like the above. For the Raps to give up any meaningful assets for a guy who can walk for nothing is stupid.

**If I am wrong on any of this, please correct me**