Jonas Valanciunas agreed to a contract extension.
Now, that has turned into an official deal, and the financial terms have leaked.
Raptors media relations:
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
This is a little higher than the report that used $60 million as its baseline, but it hardly changes my conclusion: The Raptors got a steal.
Valanciunas is good, has a strong track of improvement and, at age 23, should continue to develop.
It wouldn’t have been the least bit surprising to see him get a max contract (projected to be worth more than $93 million) as a restricted free agent next summer. So many teams will have cap space to burn with the salary cap skyrocketing.
Valanciunas is already one of the NBA’s best low-post scorers. If he progresses defensively – and Dwane Casey is the right coach to help him – Valanciunas could anchor one heck of a team in Toronto.
Kyle Lowry is the Raptors’ unquestioned leader right now, and DeMar DeRozan and DeMarre Carroll are important cogs. But Valanciunas’ youth adds tremendous value.
Toronto has a team that can win now and in the future. Locking Valanciunas into a relatively cheap deal should only help them add pieces down the road.
For him, the guarantee of $64 million is life-changing money. The chance at more as a free agent obviously didn’t appeal as much as the security of this extension.
His risk-aversion is the Raptors’ gain.