Bonner in limbo

The Raptors' Matt Bonner is being forced to sit and await word on his future after Toronto signed...

The Raptors' Matt Bonner is being forced to sit and await word on his future after Toronto signed Chris Duhon to an offer sheet. Bonner is a restricted free agent. (Toronto Sun File/Craig Robertson)

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:05 AM ET

Matt Bonner's agent knows what it means if the Raptors wind up with Chris Duhon.

Given the financial ramifications, it almost certainly would signal an end to Bonner's days in Toronto.

But the fact the Raptors have signed Duhon to a free-agent offer sheet hardly comes as a shock to Kenny Grant, who represents Bonner.

"No, it doesn't surprise me," Grant said yesterday when asked about Duhon, who played for the Chicago Bulls last season.

"The Raptors have to do what they have to do. And we have to let it play out and see what happens."

Both Bonner, a forward, and Duhon, a point guard, have played one NBA season and are restricted free agents. Both were dissatisfied with the initial contract offers they got from their old employers, and have sought greater riches on the open market.

The Bulls have a week to match the Raptors' offer to Duhon, which is believed to be for three years, with annual salaries ranging from about $2.5 million US in the first year to $3.5 million in the final year.

Bulls vice-president of basketball operations John Paxson has indicated he is leaning strongly toward matching the offer and keeping Duhon, but Paxson likely will take the full seven days to ponder his options.

The 25-year-old Bonner, who became a fan favourite in Toronto last season as he averaged 7.2 points and 3.5 rebounds, has not yet signed an offer sheet with another club.

"As of right now, there's nothing new from our end," Grant said.

If the Bulls decide to go in another direction and Duhon falls into the Raptors' laps, it will give Toronto three healthy point guards: Duhon, incumbent starter Rafer Alston and NBA rookie Jose Calderon.

Raptors general manager Rob Babcock said yesterday he is not shopping Alston, and some team insiders have indicated that what Alston needs more than anything is someone to push him for court time.

Duhon, a product of Duke who will turn 23 later this month, appeared in all 82 Bulls games last season and started 73 of them. He averaged 5.9 points and 4.9 assists.

The Raptors yesterday announced the signing of returning forward Pape Sow to a two-year contract. Reports several weeks ago indicated the club and Sow came to terms quickly.


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