Raptors Sign Second-Rounder Christian Koloko

The Raptors have signed second-round pick Christian Koloko to a multiyear contract, the team announced today in a press release.

According to Blake Murphy of Sportsnet (Twitter link), Toronto used a portion of its mid-level exception to give Koloko a three-year contract. He’ll earn $1.5MM in 2022/23 and minimum salaries the following two seasons, Murphy reports.

Since the Raptors already gave Otto Porter Jr. $6MM of their mid-level exception in free agency, using an additional $1.5MM on Koloko will push them over the taxpayer portion ($6,479,000) of the MLE, so Toronto will be hard-capped for the rest of the season, meaning the team will be unable to surpass the tax apron of $156,983,000. Currently, the Raptors’ team salary is below the luxury tax line of $150,267,000, so the hard cap shouldn’t be a pressing issue.

The 33rd pick of June’s draft, Koloko was one of only three remaining players who was drafted, had yet to be signed, and wasn’t expected to play overseas. The other two players are Pelicans forward E.J. Liddell, who unfortunately suffered a torn ACL in Summer League, and Pacers forward Kendall Brown.

The long delay in Koloko’s signing was speculated to be tied to Kevin Durant‘s trade request out of Brooklyn, as the Raptors likely wanted to keep their options open in case of a deal. However, Durant and the Nets are said to be “moving forward” together, and now Toronto has signed its lone 2022 draft pick.

A 7’1″ big man from Cameroon, Koloko most recently played for the Raptors in Summer League, appearing in five games (22 MPG) while averaging 7.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.8 SPG and a team-high 2.2 BPG.

Koloko played three seasons of college ball at Arizona, earning numerous accolades for his breakout junior season in ’21/22, including Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, and first-team All-Pac-12. In 37 games (25.4 MPG) for the Wildcats last season, he averaged 12.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 2.8 BPG while shooting 63.5% from the floor and 73.5% from the line.

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