Red Rocket on board

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 6:55 PM ET

Matt Bonner is going to remain a Raptor.

The 25-year-old forward, who became a fan favourite in Toronto last season, is set to sign a two-year deal with the club. An announcement could come as early as today.

"We are very close to agreeing to something with Matt," said Raptors general manager Rob Babcock, on the phone from Minnesota yesterday. "I anticipate it getting done quickly."

Bonner's agent, Kenny Grant, also indicated a deal is imminent.

"Matt's happy," Grant said. "He wants to be in Toronto."

A newspaper in New Hampshire reported yesterday that Bonner will earn about $2 million (US) per season.

"It might be a little less than that, actually, but that definitely is close to it," a source told The Toronto Sun yesterday.

Bonner earned the NBA minimum of $385,000 last season. So even though he won't be earning as much money as he asked for originally -- hence the lengthy and tense delay in getting his deal done -- he still is on track for an eye-popping raise.

How does the signing of Bonner impact the Raptors' other plans?

Babcock still wants to add a third point guard to play behind Rafer Alston and Jose Calderon. However, Babcock indicated the team likely will settle for a minimum-salary player, and it might take until just before training camp to sign someone.

HIGH PRIORITY

"Keeping Matt has been a high priority from Day 1, but different things came up and it always comes down to making choices," Babcock said.

"We had a chance to get (point guard) Chris Duhon (the Raptors signed the restricted free agent to an offer sheet, but the Chicago Bulls matched it). We knew if that worked out, we weren't going to be able to re-sign Matt. Position-wise, we thought that would have been in the best interests of our team. But at no point did that mean we didn't want Matt back."

Things changed with Duhon out of the picture.

"When we looked at the other (free-agent) point guards who were available, we determined a lot of them weren't worth the money," Babcock said. "And of the ones we were interested in, we had to ask ourselves, do we have enough money left to make a serious bid? So at that point we said, okay, let's sign Matt, who we wanted to keep anyway, and we likely will go with a minimum-salary guy to fill that spot as our third point guard."

The 6-foot-10 Bonner averaged 7.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 82 games last season.


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