Raptors pick up option on Bosh

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:14 AM ET

The Raptors have exercised their contract option on forward Chris Bosh. The forward now is signed with the team through the 2006-07 season.

He will become a restricted free agent following that season with the Raptors holding the right of first refusal.

The team's first-round draft pick (fourth overall) in 2003, Bosh has averaged 14.2 points and 8.2 rebounds in 156 games. He averaged 16.8 points and a team-leading 8.9 rebounds last season. Bosh posted a team-best 32 double-doubles.

Bosh, 6-foot-10, 225 pounds, earned 2003-04 NBA all-rookie first-team honours after averaging 11.5 points and 7.4 rebounds. He set a franchise rookie record with 557 rebounds.

JUAN TO WATCH

Raptors general manager Rob Babcock has had nice things to say about Canadian hoopster Juan Mendez, who averaged 23.5 points for Niagara University last season and led the Purple Eagles to the NCAA tournament.

However, Babcock yesterday insisted that he will not select the Montreal native in today's draft just because he's a Canuck.

The Raps have the 41st and 58th picks in the second round and many believe that they would pick up Mendez with their last pick in part to appease the Toronto fans, who would love to see a Canadian in uniform. Babcock, however, did add that all things being equal, he would pick Mendez over a player of equal promise because he is a local favourite.

HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL

According to one NBA source, the Raptors have made a deal to select 7-foot, 280-pound New Jersey high-schooler Andrew Bynum with their No. 16 pick. Bynum, who only is 17, had planned to go to the University of Connecticut. Bynum averaged 17 points and 13 rebounds last season at St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, N.J.

BUCK STOPS HERE

Babcock has asked his staff to prepare independent depth charts of players in the draft, and after that, they'll get together to discus them. Ultimately, however, Babcock makes the final decision, as he did last year in the second round when the general consensus was not to select forward Pape Sow, who is rounding into a decent player.


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