Former Raptors Big Man Expected to Find New Team This Summer

Former Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas is expected to find a new team this summer when he and the New Orleans Pelicans part ways
Apr 24, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17)
Apr 24, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17) / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Jonas Valanciunas is expected to have a new home next season.

The former Toronto Raptors big man will hit unrestricted free agency this summer and is not expected to re-sign with the New Orleans Pelicans, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported. Valanciunas had seen his minutes dwindle for the Pelicans this year and his fit alongside Zion Williamson has never been ideal.

"I’d be pretty surprised if he was back because of how they were treating his spot in the rotation late in the season," said Will Guillory of The Athletic.

Valanciunas played in all 82 games, averaging 12.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game this past year. He saw his minutes dip to just 19.3 per game following the all-star break as the Pelicans gave more playing time to Larry Nance Jr.

A Jonas Return to Toronto?

It would certainly be fun and it could theoretically be possible if Toronto cleared up cap space to pursue the 32-year-old big man, but it's extremely unlikely.

The Raptors already have Jakob Poeltl and Kelly Olynyk on multi-year deals and adding another veteran big man to the mix seems like a bad idea. It's also unlikely Valanciunas would sign up to be a backup big for Toronto behind Poeltl.

Fit wise, it's pretty awkward too.

Valanciunas and Poeltl are relatively similar big men their lack of three-point shooting isn't an ideal fit with Scottie Barnes and Toronto's young core.

Toronto has said it wants to bring in another big man this summer, but ideally, someone who is more of a developmental player and Valanciunas doesn't fit that description.


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Aaron Rose

AARON ROSE

Aaron Rose is a Toronto-based reporter covering the Toronto Raptors since 2020.