The Raptors will work to sign Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross to rookie scale extensions before the October 31st deadline to do so, reports Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Twitter link). The team sees it as a matter of paying now versus paying later, but that they’re willing to pay at all beyond this coming season, the last on the contracts for both, is noteworthy, particularly for Ross. Toronto earlier today signed DeMarre Carroll to a four-year, $60MM contract, further crowding the team’s wing positions, where DeMar DeRozan occupies the starting two guard spot.
Toronto reportedly listened to trade offers for Ross this past season and apparently gave thought to trading Valanciunas, too. Ross suffered a regression this past season, his third since becoming the eighth overall pick in 2012, averaging fewer points and minutes per game than he did in his sophomore campaign. His three-point shooting percentage also dipped. Valanciunas saw his playing time decrease slightly, too, but he still upped his scoring average, an efficiency shown in his 20.6 PER.
Eric Koreen of the National Post suggested this spring that it was likely that Toronto would explore an extension for Valanciunas, and indeed it appears that’s what GM Masai Ujiri intends to do with the Leon Rose client. Ujiri affirmed his commitment to the big man at the end of this past season, calling him “a huge part of our team” going forward, and the organization seemed to pin the slow development of the former No. 5 overall pick on the team’s staff of assistant coaches, which has since undergone changes.
The early read on DeRozan is that he’ll probably opt out next summer, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe recently wrote, so an extension for Ross, an Aaron Mintz client, would provide insurance in case DeRozan bolts. Ross and Valanciunas would be set for restricted free agency a year from now if the Raptors don’t sign them to extensions.