Tuesday, September 02, 2014 17:04 [Daily Archive]

Sports AP
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Bargnani wants to see Hedo in Toronto
TORONTO - Andrea Bargnani welcomed the possibility of teaming up with Hidayet "Hedo" Türkoğlu at the NBA team Toronto Raptors.

Italian forward was re-signed by the Toronto Raptors to a $50 million, five-year contract extension on Wednesday starting in 2010-11, while free agent Hedo is reported to lean toward joining the Raptors.

If the deal is finalized, Bargnani and Hedo will be the greatest helpers of team star Chris Bosh.

"It will be great," Bargnani said of Türkoğlu. "He's a very good player, he can do a little bit of everything. He can play the low post, he can shoot from outside, he can dribble in, he can play pick and roll. He'll be a great fit on our team."

Türkoğlu was a key player in the Orlando Magic’s surprisingly successful run to the NBA finals last season, where the team lost to the Los Angeles Lakers. Hedo rejected the Magic’s offer of a contract and wanted to test the free agent market.

Türkoğlu had another offer from the Portland Trail Blazers, but is closer to the Raptors because of feeling that he may adjust better to lifestyle in Toronto.

And much like Türkoğlu, who was attracted to Toronto in part because of its Turkish community, the many Italians in the city provided Bargnani with a comfort level that helped make him want to stay with the Raptors.

"It was very important from day one because as soon as I came in I didn't really feel the transition off of the court," said Bargnani.

"The city was pretty, the fans are incredible, there is a huge Italian community that's really close to me. They're coming to the arena, I can see them on the street and the restaurants, so this is they city where I want to play if you're talking NBA, it's the best city for me in North America."

Bargnani was the first European-born player selected with the first overall pick in the NBA draft when he was taken by the Raptors in 2006.

"Andrea has worked very hard to establish himself as a topflight, multidimensional big man in the NBA," Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. "He overcame a rough start last season to emerge as a primary scorer for us, and we anticipate quite a bit more from him in the future."

Bargnani averaged career-highs of 15.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.24 blocked shots in 78 games with the Raptors last season.
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