Raptors ink Slovenian

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:55 AM ET

The Raptors took their penultimate step in completing their 2006-07 roster yesterday with the signing of 6-foot-11 forward Uros Slokar to a one-year contract.

With the team's Slovenian-born, second-round pick from 2005 locked up, the Raptors have 14 players under contract for next season, one under the maximum.

NECK INJURY

The final piece may be veteran point guard Darrick Martin, who did a nice job as a third-stringer for the Raptors last season.

Slokar became a priority for the Raptors when forward Pape Sow suffered a neck injury at a summer league practice in Las Vegas last month, resulting in subsequent neck surgery.

Slokar, who will be a teammate of Raptors centre Rasho Nesterovic on the Slovenian team at the world championship next month in Japan, played for Raptors assistant general manager Maurizio Gherardini's Benetton Treviso team in Italy last season. He averaged 4.9 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting over 50% from the field.

The personable Slokar, who played with the Raptors' summer league team in 2005, has relatives in Ontario and jumped at the chance to play in Toronto.

He is the third Raptor to have played for Gherardini's Benetton team, following in the footsteps of No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani and Jorge Garbajosa.

Slokar is expected to be one of five Raptors -- six if you include 2005 second round pick Roko Ukic, who will play in Barcelona this season -- playing in the world championship.


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