Raptors douse Big V rumours

Raptors president Bryan Colangelo (right) HAS doused rumours that first-round draft selection Jonas...

Raptors president Bryan Colangelo (right) HAS doused rumours that first-round draft selection Jonas Valanciunas would join the team later this season. (REUTERS)

Ryan Wolstat, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:26 PM ET

Will Jonas Valanciunas be a Raptor in 2011-12?

Don’t get your hopes up Raptors fans. The odds of that happening are miniscule, though ESPN’s Chad Ford at least floated the idea on Saturday.

Citing a source close to the Raptors, Ford said there’s a small chance Valanciunas could leave Lietuvos Rytas in Lithuania and join Toronto at some point this season.

But Raptors president/general manager Bryan Colangelo threw cold water on the scenario, telling the Toronto Sun: “He’s under contract and the buyout calls for him to play the year out in Lithuania. Beyond that, there is nothing else to report from our side.”

The Raptors drafted the Lithuanian centre fully expecting he would stay in Europe until after the 2012 London Olympics.

At that point, Toronto would be able to offer Rytas buyout money believed to be in the neighbourhood of $500,000 US.

Some teams worried a buyout wouldn’t be reachable until after two years but the Raptors were always confident they would get the 19-year old after one further year of development overseas.

Valanciunas was the MVP of the FIBA Under-19 world championship and played well against veteran competition in the EuroBasket but has not been a major factor in spotty minutes for Rytas — which missed qualifying for the Euroleague.

 


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