Colangelo eclipses Suns

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

On the eve of announcing a contract extension for Chris Bosh, Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo was feasting on Salmons.

Colangelo continued his massive summer makeover with his final major move last night, beating out his old team, the Phoenix Suns, to land guard/forward John Salmons, a restricted free agent, in a sign-and-trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The trade, which sees the Raptors shipping a second-round pick and $2 million US, will be completed next Thursday when little-used point guard Andre Barrett, who was waived last night after signing a non-guaranteed contract last year, is expected to clear waivers, freeing up about $750,000 in cap space to help pay Salmons.

The Raptors will sign the 6-foot-6 Salmons, 26, to a reported five-year, $23-million deal. The Suns were offering slightly less and, reportedly, demanded a decision from Salmons yesterday.

Colangelo, who started the free agency period by signing Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Anthony Parker to a three-year, $12-million deal yesterday, wouldn't comment on the Salmons situation last night.

But speaking to the Philadelphia Daily News yesterday, Salmons' agent, Joel Bell, confirmed his client was heading north.

"John had two great choices and chose Toronto based on a variety of factors," Bell told the newspaper.

"He wanted to think through all the possibilities before he reached a decision."

A four-year veteran who can play both guard spots and the small forward position, Salmons averaged a career-high 25.1 minutes last season with the Sixers and 7.5 points. He played some of his best basketball in the absence of star Allen Iverson. Salmons, who will battle Morris Peterson and Parker for playing time, averaged 9.5 points and four assists in 24 games as a starter.

Today, Bosh will sign a three-year contract extension (with a player option for a fourth year) worth about $45 million for the first three years.

The signing of Spanish forward Jorge Garbajosa, who is with Spain's national team this month, to a three-year, $12-million deal is imminent.

There is a good chance the team also will sign 2005 second-round pick Uros Slokar this summer to fill the active roster spot held by the injured Pape Sow, who underwent neck surgery last week.

"Obviously, there is a big piece we need to take care of (today) with regards to Chris Bosh and we're going to do something shortly," Colangelo said. "It is coming together the way we'd like."

If Slokar and 2006 second-rounder P.J. Tucker sign, the Raptors would have the maximum 15 players under contract. In that scenario, the Raptors would have a whopping nine players on the roster who weren't with the team last year and open the season with just four active returnees.

"This is pretty much where we thought we were going," Colangelo said.


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