Bargnani signs 5-year extension with Raptors
Toronto Raptors centre Andrea Bargnani signed a lucrative contract extension Wednesday worth roughly $50 million US over five seasons, starting in 2010-11.
Bargnani, 23, has one year remaining on the previous extension he signed last Oct. 27.
"Andrea has worked very hard to establish himself as a top-flight, multi-dimensional big man in the NBA," Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo said in a statement.
Toronto is hoping Bargnani's extension and the anticipated signing of free-agent forward Hedo Turkoglu will send a message to marquee forward Chris Bosh that the Raptors are committed to winning.
Bosh, a four-time all-star and the face of the franchise, is eligible for unrestricted free agency next July 1, but the Raptors want to keep him in the fold.
"Congrats to Andrea Bargnani. 5 yrs 50 mill with the Raptors" — teammate Chris Bosh on Twitter
Bargnani set career highs in every major statistical category last season, his third in the NBA.
A stylish seven-footer with a deft passing touch and a penchant for jump shots, he averaged 15.4 points on 45 per cent shooting from the floor, 5.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 blocked shots and 31.4 minutes in 78 games, including 59 starts.
Bargnani also set an NBA record for consecutive games with two-plus three-point baskets by a starting centre with 10.
More importantly, he showed a greater willingness to put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket than he did in his first two seasons with the Raptors.
"He overcame a rough start last season to emerge as a primary scorer for us and we anticipate quite a bit more from him in the future," Colangelo said.
Bargnani has averaged 12.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 26.9 minutes in 221 NBA appearances (114 starts) since he was the first European drafted No. 1 overall by Toronto in 2006.
With files from The Canadian Press