The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have exercised the third-year team options on the Rookie Scale Contracts of centre Jonas Valanciunas and guard Terrence Ross. The contracts for Valanciunas and Ross are now guaranteed through the 2014-15 season. In accordance with the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Raptors had until October 31 to exercise their option on both players. Per team policy, financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Valanciunas, seven-foot, 257 pounds, joined the Raptors after being selected fifth overall in the 2011 NBA Draft and spending the 2011-12 season playing overseas. He was named to the 2012-13 NBA All-Rookie Second Team after finishing the year ranked third among rookies in rebounds (6.0), blocks (1.26) and field goal percentage (.557). Valanciunas also ranked seventh among rookies averaging 8.9 points in 23.9 minutes.
A native of Utena, Lithuania, Valanciunas became the fifth rookie in franchise history to start on opening night and the second to record a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) in his debut October 31 versus Indiana. He was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for March, averaging 11.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and shooting .620 from the field in 15 games. Valanciunas scored a career-high 24 points and set a team rookie record shooting 16-for-18 at the free throw line April 3 versus Washington.
In July, Valanciunas was named Most Valuable Player of the 2013 NBA Summer League after averaging 18.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and 29.3 minutes in four outings. Following Summer League, he returned to the Lithuanian National Team and helped his country earn a silver medal at the FIBA Eurobasket Tournament and qualification for the 2014 FIBA World Championship. Valanciunas has been named FIBA Europe’s Young Men’s Player of the Year the past two years (2011 and 2012).
Ross, 6-foot-7, 197 pounds was selected eighth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Raptors. Last season he posted averages of 6.4 points, 2.0 rebounds and 17.0 minutes in 73 contests. He shot .332 (65-196) from beyond the arc and finished fifth among rookies in made three-pointers. He led the team in bench points 16 times and scored in double digits on 22 occasions. Ross recorded career highs of 26 points and six three-pointers January 2 versus Portland.
Ross won the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk during All-Star Saturday Night on February 16 in Houston. He defeated Jeremy Evans in the final round with 58 per cent of the fan votes.
Ross netted a game-high 27 points in Monday’s double overtime victory versus New York. He is averaging 12.0 points and leads the team with nine three-pointers through seven preseason games.