James crying wolf

Free agent Mike James is expected to sign a four-year contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves....

Free agent Mike James is expected to sign a four-year contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Toronto Sun File/Craig Robertson)

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

Mike James, who officially will sign a new multi-year deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves today, called the Raptors contract offer "a slap in my face."

James, 31, has agreed to a reported four-year deal with the Wolves for an estimated $25 million US, spurning offers from the Houston Rockets, where he maintains an off-season home, Dallas Mavericks and Toronto, where he posted career highs in points (20.3) and assists (5.8) last season.

"My agent (Bill Duffy) said Toronto offered me ($5 million) for three years, but they wanted me to come off the bench," James told the Toronto Sun last night.

"That's like a slap in my face. To me, that was like taking a step back."

Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo would not comment on the James situation yesterday because of the NBA moratorium on announcing free-agent signings, which expires today.

James said there were two major reasons why he selected the Timberwolves.

First, they offered him a three-year deal plus a player option for a fourth, a type of deal he has long coveted.

Second, James said Minnesota also agreed to a clause that will pay him an undisclosed amount if it decides to trade him.

"Dallas and Houston didn't want to do that," he said. "Minnesota was willing."

But there were personal reasons for signing with Minnesota as well.

"Kevin Garnett called me and said that he not only wanted me, but that he needed me," James said. "And when the Big Ticket said that to me, that was enough."

In trading forward Charlie Villanueva to the Milwaukee Bucks for T.J. Ford last month, the Raptors secured what they believe to be their point guard of the future, making James expendable -- at least as a starter.

The Raptors also are expected to announce the signing of former New Jersey first-round draft pick Anthony Parker of Maccabi Tel Aviv today.

Parker can play both the shooting guard and small forward positions.

According to reports, the Raptors will pay $500,000 of Parker's $1.5 million buyout from Maccabi and will pay him a reported $12 million over three years.

Toronto also is expected to sign free-agent forward Jorge Garbajosa of Spain.


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