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.