Salmons having second thoughts?

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

Another day came and went without John Salmons joining the Raptors, leading to growing speculation that the Philadelphia 76ers swingman will back out of a plan to come to Toronto.

Sixers general manager Billy King told an ESPN reporter yesterday that Salmons is having second thoughts about accepting a five-year, $23-million US deal with the Raptors. That belief is being echoed in whispers from around the league.

LARGER TRADE

A sign-and-trade, which would have seen a second-round pick and a $2-million trade exception going to the Sixers in exchange for Salmons, was supposed to be completed Thursday night after ex-Raptors point guard Andre Barrett cleared waivers. There still is a possibility Salmons could be part of a larger transaction with the Raptors, but the chances of that appear slim.

Joel Bell, Salmons' agent, did not return calls yesterday.

Meanwhile, Raptors president/general manager Bryan Colangelo has to be considering another plan with Salmons up in the air. There are several options. One could be Phoenix Suns guard Eddie House, who was linked to the Raptors before Salmons became a serious target.

"We've talked about Eddie and I know (the Raptors) like him a lot," Mark Bartelstein, House's agent, said. "But we have to wait and see how this (the Salmons deal) plays out first."

A long shot would be making another pitch for 2005 second-round pick Roko Ukic, a 6-foot-5 point guard from Croatia.

"Until the window of opportunity is closed, I can't say it's not open," said Marc Cornstein, Ukic's agent, who held talks with Colangelo last month. "I'd still say it's more unlikely to happen than likely at this point, but stranger things have happened."

Ukic, who played for Tau Ceramica in Spain this past season, is expected to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel next season.


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