Former Toronto Raptor Jalen Rose claims talented, high-priced NBA free agents avoid playing for Canada's only NBA team because of high tax rates.

"You can't name me a player — an all-star calibre one at that — that as a free agent signed with the Toronto Raptors outright, because it does play a factor," Rose said Wednesday night on his ESPN Radio show Jalen & Jacoby.

Rose played 177 games for Toronto after being traded to the Raptors from the Chicago Bulls early in the 2003-04 NBA season.

"When I got traded from the Bulls to the Raptors, I got introduced to the Queen Elizabeth tax hike," Rose told cohost David Jacoby.

In Ontario, a person with a taxable income of $220,000 or more pays 33 per cent in federal income tax and an additional 13.16 per cent in provincial income tax.

Rose, who was a college sensation when he played at the University of Michigan, went on to name a laundry list of star players the Raptors drafted but later traded or lost to free agency. He seemed to blame taxes, at least in part, for many of the departures.

The list includes:

  • Damon Stoudamire, who was drafted seventh overall in 1995 and was traded to Portland in 1997.
  • Marcus Camby, who was drafted second overall in 1996 and was traded to New York in 1998.
  • Tracy McGrady, who was drafted ninth overall in 1997 and left as a free agent in 2000.

However, Vince Carter, arguably the greatest Raptor of all time, did sign a six-year $94 million US contract extension with the Raptors in 2001. He was later traded.