Toronto Raptors big man Jonas Valanciunas is up for a contract extension this summer, and after a Lithuanian website first reported Monday that Valanciunas was leaving the Lithuanian National Team for Toronto in order to finalize an extension, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported the two sides were in “advanced discussions” on a four-year deal worth “in excess” of 60 million.
Valanciunas is coming off a season in which he averaged 12 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting a career-best 57.2 percent from the field. He averaged 11 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent in the Raptors’ first-round series loss to the Washington Wizards in the playoffs.
Valanciunas’s regular-season on-off numbers weren’t very kind to him, but at 23 years old, the 7-footer has plenty of room to improve on both sides of the ball. He has nice potential as a rim protector and is an efficient scorer, and he’d benefit from more touches on offense.
Four years and $60 million is a solid deal for a blossoming young big man in this current climate with the salary cap exploding, and it’s a deal that shouldn’t really affect Toronto’s plans next summer. It’ll somewhat hinder the Raptors’ flexibility if they want to make a run at Kevin Durant, but that’s a long shot anyway. Locking up a young big with potential at a reasonable price is a smart move, and Toronto is on the verge of doing just that.