Raptors sign Canadian forward Anthony Bennett
TORONTO (AP) Anthony Bennett signed with the Toronto Raptors on Monday, and the Canadian forward is looking toward a new start in his hometown.
''It's been something I've been thinking about growing up, watching Vince Carter play,'' he said. ''Now I'm back here now. (It's) surreal but at the same time it's work. I'm just ready to go all out.''
Bennett has had a rough two seasons in the NBA since he was the surprise No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland in 2013. He battled injuries in his rookie season with the Cavaliers and in second season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he landed with Andrew Wiggins in the Kevin Love deal.
Bennett averaged 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 57 games for the Timberwolves. The Raptors believe Toronto could be the right fit, although Bennett will have to play his way up the ladder.
''He's a super young man and a young talent,'' coach Dwane Casey said. ''He's only 22 years old and it was a good situation for us to bring him back. Not only because he's Canadian, because he's a very talented young man who needs a good opportunity.''
Added GM Masai Ujiri: ''He's going to have to work, but I think he's up for the challenge.''
Bennett credits his time with the national team for making basketball fun again.
''Honestly, I feel like Team Canada helped me out a whole lot,'' he said. ''Just playing, the confidence, healthy again. Just going out there and playing with a clear mind. I feel like that is what I need to get back to.''
Bennett joins another Canadian on the Raptors - Cory Joseph.
''I feel like he's a hard worker, Canada saw how well he did this summer. I feel like there's a new beginning here,'' Joseph said. ''I feel like he'll do great for us, for the city, for the country. I feel like he'll revive his NBA career.