Raptors add financial flexibility in 5-player deal

The Toronto Raptors are putting Chris Bosh behind them and
looking toward the future.

A day after swinging a five-player deal with the New Orleans
Hornets, Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo says
he added to his team’s young core and increased his financial
flexibility.

Toronto swapped guards Jarrett Jack and Marcus Banks and center
David Anderson for guard Jerryd Bayless and swingman Peja
Stojakovic.

The Raptors lost their lone All-Star when Bosh signed with the
Miami Heat last summer and are off to a 4-9 start this season. Now
in his fourth season in charge, Colangelo is looking forward as he
attempts to steer Toronto back into the playoffs.

”It’s pretty obvious this trade was made with the future in
mind,” Colangelo said Sunday. ”If the last four years were
building around Chris Bosh, then next four years are about building
without Chris Bosh. This is a step in that direction.

Stojakovic’s contract expires after this season, and Colangelo
said he has close to $25 million in expiring contracts. He also has
more than $12 million left on a trade exception that was part of
Bosh’s sign-and-trade deal with the Heat.

With the NBA’s financial landscape expected to change as the
league prepares for labor talks with the players, Colangelo feels
good about his balance sheet.

”We’ve got a chance to be nimble here with respect to what the
new rules look like,” he said.

Along with Bayless, 23, Toronto has four other core players all
under the age of 25, Guard DeMar DeRozan, 21 was the team’s
first-round pick last year, forward Ed Davis, 21 was a first-round
pick this year, forward Amir Johnson, 23, signed a five-year
contract this summer and guard Sonny Weems, 24 is the team’s
second-leading scorer.

”Whether or not we win games is really not the true issue right
now, it’s how much we’re growing as an organization, how much these
young kids are coming along,” Colangelo said.