Colangelo putting Raptors on NBA map

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

The Raptors' decision to hire Bryan Colangelo played a huge part in John Salmons' decision to make Toronto his basketball home for the next five seasons.

Joel Bell, the agent for the new Raptors guard/forward, said yesterday that Colangelo's leadership role in Toronto was a huge selling point for his client in choosing the Raptors over the Suns, Colangelo's old team. Salmons will sign a five-year, $23-million US deal with the Raptors.

"There is no doubt in my mind that Bryan Colangelo would not go to Toronto unless he feels this franchise is on the way up," Bell said yesterday, a day after the Philadelphia 76ers and Raptors completed a sign-and-trade. "When a guy like Bryan Colangelo goes to the Toronto franchise, it sends a signal that the franchise definitely is on the way up. Otherwise, why would he go there?"

The chance to have a shot at a starting role had to be appealing to Salmons. But the chance to be a part of a turnaround always has been attractive for the swingman.

"What John really saw in Toronto was a franchise on the rise," Bell said. "In college, John went to (an unheralded program like) Miami over a place like Kansas. He wanted to be a part of building something."

A Philadelphia native, Salmons may feel a bit less pressure playing away from home. He officially will join the Raptors late next week when Andre Barrett clears waivers.

LESS IS MORE

Agent Henry Thomas, who negotiated a three-year (plus a one-year player option) contract for Raptors star Chris Bosh that was finalized yesterday, said there were two reasons to go one year less than the maximum length.

The NBA's collective bargaining agreement could expire after what would have been the end of Bosh's four-year deal, meaning he would potentially be negotiating under a set of less financially gratifying rules. Secondly, Bosh can earn 30% of his team's salary cap after his extension ends, up from 25% in this deal.

SORRY ITALY

As expected, it was confirmed that Raptors' first-round pick Andrea Bargnani will not play for Italy at the world championship, Aug. 19-Sept. 2 in Japan.

The Italian Basketball Federation announced the decision yesterday.


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