Raptors forward becomes highest-paid player in team history with new deal, per report

Toronto Raptors All-Star forward Scottie Barnes intends to sign a rookie max extension worth up to $270 million over five years, per Adrian Wojnarowski. Barnes was eligible for the rookie max after completing his third year in the NBA, where he became a first-time All-Star after averaging career-highs of 19.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists.

The deal makes Barnes the highest paid player in Raptors franchise history. After entering the league in 2021, Barnes made an immediate impact on the Raptors, earning Rookie of the Year, and First Team All-Rookie honors with averages of 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He’s asserted himself as a versatile two-way player who can guard multiple positions on defense, while developing as a playmaker and scorer on offense.

Barnes’ 3-point shooting specifically took a major leap in this third year, as he shot 34.1% from deep on nearly five attempts per game. That’s a significant improvement from the 30.1% he shot in his rookie season, and the 28.1% he shot in Year 2. If he can get that number up a few percentage points higher, it’ll force opposing teams to play him tougher on the perimeter, which will open up the paint for him, where he excels the most.

While Barnes can’t officially sign the contract until July 6, which is when deals can become official in the NBA, agreeing to an extension ensures the Raptors can focus on other things this offseason as they try to take steps to rebuild into a contender. The Raptors finished 11 games outside of the last play-in spot in the Eastern Conference this season, but have a solid core of young players around Barnes, including RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley who can all continue to develop together.

It was a season of change for a Toronto team that traded both Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby ahead of the trade deadline, in order to pivot in building around Barnes. And by signing him to the richest deal in Raptors history, it shows that the team sees Barnes as their future.

“I think the most difficult thing to do when you do things like this is finding the Scottie Barneses of the world, and we’re lucky to have a really good young player like this to build around,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in April.

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