Not exactly thrilled

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

Giorgos Printezis can't speak English all that well, but he is fluent in the language of diplomacy.

The Greek forward was drafted in the second round (58th overall) by the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night and not long after was traded to the Raptors for a second-round pick in the 2008 draft.

And while the Athens native acknowledged that he was thrilled to have been selected by the Spurs, he also said that, initially at least, he wasn't over the moon when dealt to the Raptors. However, the 22-year-old Olympia Larissa star managed to keep his disappointment largely in check.

"I can't say it was my dream," Printezis said, when asked about his trade to Toronto.

"But I know it is a very good organization and also a very nice city ... and is one team that trusts European players, which is what I like."

Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo pulled the trigger on the deal partly on the advice of assistant GM Maurizio Gherardini, director of player personnel Jim Kelly and assistant coach Jay Triano, who watched Printezis work out a couple of weeks ago at the Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy.

Printezis is under contract with Olympiacos of the Euroleague and Colangelo said there is no buyout of his contract until next year, which means he will play in Greece for at least one more season. Gherardini said yesterday that it was Printezis' progression during the past couple of years that excited the organization.

STEP UP

The 6-foot-9 Printezis averaged 11.5 points and 3.9 rebounds while on loan to Olympia Larissa of the Greek League last season and will step up this season to the Euroleague.

"He's a guy who goes for the rebounds all the time has a very aggressive approach to the game," said Gherardini, who added that Printezis also is a very athletic player.

"He is a good jumper, and he can shoot. It was not by coincidence that he was voted the best young player in the Greek League this year."

Colangelo decided not to trade for a draft pick on Thursday and will go about trying to improve his team via free agency.

Colangelo reiterated yesterday that his main priority is signing a top-level wing (small forward) with the mid-level exemption (which will be between $5.5-6 million US per season) and perhaps use the bi-annual exemption ($1.8 million this season, $1.98 the next) on a power forward or centre. He also will likely pick up another guard.

Some free-agent small forwards that have been mentioned as possible players of interest to the Raptors include Mickael Pietrus of Golden State, Orlando's Grant Hill and Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers.


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