Raptors sign Andrea Bargnani to contract extension

The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have signed forward-centre Andrea Bargnani to a multi-year contract extension. The Raptors tipped-off a busy off-season for the club when Bargnani signed the contract at 12:01 a.m. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed. A few media outlets reported that the deal is for around 5 years and at least $50 million. This has not yet been confirmed.

“Andrea has worked very hard to establish himself as a top-flight, multi-dimensional big man in the NBA,” said Bryan Colangelo, Raptors President and General Manager. “He overcame a rough start last season to emerge as a primary scorer for us, and we anticipate quite a bit more from him in the future.”

Bargnani averaged career highs of 15.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.24 blocked shots and 31.4 minutes in 78 games in the 2008-09 season. He made 59 starts, averaging 17.7 points and 5.9 rebounds. He topped 20 or more points a career-best 23 times. He also scored in double figures in 41 of his final 45 starts, with 20 or more points in 24 of those contests.

Bargnani recorded a career-high 31 points January 14, 2009 versus Chicago. He also set an NBA record last season for the longest streak of consecutive games with two or more three-pointers by a starting centre with 10 consecutive games (December 31 – January 16).

The 7-foot native of Rome, Italy has posted career averages of 12.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in 221 NBA regular season games. He has shot .831 (221-266) from the charity stripe in his three NBA seasons.

Bargnani became the first European-born player selected with the first overall pick in the NBA Draft when he was taken by the Raptors on June 28, 2006. During his first season in the NBA, Bargnani averaged 11.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in 65 games. He was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team and captured T-Mobile Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honours in January and February.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Bargnani is young and promising, but there’s no way he’s earned a contract of this size yet. Assuming he signs this, I hope he works hard to keep improving, rather than relaxing and failing to live up to expectations.

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