Richardson, 33, was traded by New York, along with center Marcus Camby, forward Steve Novak and three draft picks, to Toronto in exchange for forward Andrea Bargnani. As part of the deal, Richardson was signed to a three-year contract worth $4.4 million, but the final two years were non-guaranteed. His salary for 2013-14 was set at $1.4 million; Toronto is currently slightly under the luxury tax line, so paying off Richardson amounts to more of a nuisance than anything else.
Given Toronto's roster composition, the fact that Richardson's name wasn't initially included in the trade, and the nature of his contract, Richardson's release was anticipated. The Raptors are paying starting wings Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan a combined $27.4 million next season, while Landry Fields, 2012 first-round pick Terrence Ross and Austin Daye will also vie for minutes. Richardson's presence, at this point of his career, would have only done more harm than good on a young Raptors squad hoping to develop its players and make a push for the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
A 13-year veteran, Richardson was selected in the first round of the 2000 draft after spending two years at DePaul. He holds career averages of 10.3 points and 4.7 rebounds during stops with the Clippers, Suns, Knicks, Heat and Magic. Richarson was bought out by the rebuilding Magic last October and didn't play until April, when he signed on with the Knicks just before the start of the 2013 playoffs. Over the last three seasons, Richardson has played in a total of 106 games, in part because of a serious knee injury, and he hasn't posted a league-average PER of 15 since the 2003-04 season.