Deal just about done

Sam Mitchell will call Toronto home for the next four years. (Sun File/Veronica Henri)

Sam Mitchell will call Toronto home for the next four years. (Sun File/Veronica Henri)

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell is signed, sealed and now all he has to do is deliver an NBA championship to Toronto.

Mitchell confirmed last night that he has signed a new four-year deal with the club and that a media conference will be held this afternoon to announce the deal.

"I guess it's better you get this from the horse's mouth, rather than from the horse's a__" Mitchell said, with a laugh, when asked about his new deal last night.

"But you know, this is where I really wanted to be in the first place," he added. "The only way I was going to leave is if they didn't want me. All I wanted was to be treated fairly and I have been treated fairly (in Toronto)."

The deal is said to be three years plus a team option, worth about $4 million US annually, a raise of just over $2 million per year for a coach who led Toronto to a 20-win improvement this season (47-35) from the 2005-06 campaign. The 47 victories tied a franchise record. Under Mitchell's direction, the Raptors qualified for the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-02 season and captured their first Division title.

His efforts landed him the NBA coach-of-the-year award.

Mitchell said he is excited about the opportunity to help the Raptors take another step toward a championship.

"We've got some very good, young talent, but our young guys also have to get better," Mitchell said. "Bryan (GM Colangelo) and I both know that we need to add some pieces."

At least two other clubs, the Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Bobcats, and possibly Orlando Magic, were interested in talking to Mitchell about coaching next season.

But in the end, he decided that the grass wasn't greener anywhere else.

"I know this is a good situation," said Mitchell, who played 13 seasons in the NBA, with Indiana and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"And who knows how good it would have been somewhere else -- somewhere where I would have to learn everything all over again, learn the players, learn the situation. At least I know Bryan, and I know I have good guys in my locker room."

The Raptors were defeated in six games by the New Jersey Nets in the first round of the playoffs this season.

It's expected that all three of Mitchell's assistants -- Jim Todd, Alex English and Jay Triano -- will be offered new deals.


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