The Raptors have exercised their options to keep Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross under their rookie scale contracts for 2015/16, the team announced via press release. The moves were expected, as both are mainstays of a team on the rise in the Eastern Conference. Valanciunas will make more than $4.660MM and Ross nearly $3.554MM, respectively, in 2015/16, which will be the fourth pro season for each of them, as our Rookie Scale Team Option Tracker shows.
Valanciunas played overseas for a year after the Raptors drafted him fifth overall in 2011, but Toronto wasted little time in giving him a prominent role during his rookie season, when he started in all but five of his 62 appearances. The native of Lithuania started all 81 games he played this past season, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per contest. Ross was a reserve for Toronto the season after the team picked him eighth overall in 2012, but he blossomed last year, when the Rudy Gay trade opened the starting small forward position for him. Ross put up 10.9 PPG in 26.7 MPG and raised his three-point shooting to 39.5% from the 33.2% mark he posted as a rookie.
The exercised options give the Raptors about $49MM in commitments for 2015/16, or about 17.5MM beneath the projected $66.5MM salary cap. That would give Toronto a chance to go after a restricted free agent with an offer at or near the maximum salary, but next summer is still a ways off, and many moves are yet to come.