Araujo may head to D-League

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

With Antonio Davis in town and Pape Sow improving, Rafael Araujo appears to be the odd man out with the Raptors.

It sure sounds like the Raptors are considering sending their first-round draft pick from 2004 down to the Arkansas RimRockers of the D-League. If the Raptors don't ship him to the minors, Araujo simply will sit on the bench and not develop.

"I'm going to talk with (coach) Sam (Mitchell) and see what is best for (Araujo)," Raptors interim general manager Wayne Embry said yesterday. "Playing is important for young guys. They need to develop, they need to get experience."

With this being the first season of the D-League's NBA affiliation for first- and second-year players, Arkansas was a bit of an unknown for the Raptors before they demoted Sow for 18 games. But the 6-foot-10 forward/ centre led the D-League in rebounding and came back a much better player.

"In Pape's case, it (the D-League) was a confidence builder," Embry said.

With ex-general manager Rob Babcock, who drafted Araujo, fired two weeks ago, the organization's main link to the centre is no longer in a position of power. Therefore, it's easier than ever for the Raptors to transfer Araujo.

Meanwhile, Embry confirmed yesterday disgruntled forward Eric Williams has told him he would rather play elsewhere. Embry said he will do his best to make the little-used player happy.

"I've always had a lot of respect for Eric ... I don't want to do something he wouldn't want." Embry said.


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