The Raptors have re-signed free agent Patrick Patterson, who was the second-highest priority behind Kyle Lowry for Toronto.
Patterson, 25, was acquired by Toronto as part of the return package for Rudy Gay in a Dec. 2013 trade with Sacramento. A physical 6-foot-9 forward with the versatility to defend stretch forwards and the ability to step out and hit three-pointers himself, Patterson fit in well on an overachieving, blue-collar Raptors squad that produced the franchise's first trip to the postseason since 2008. He appeared mostly in a reserve role last season -- averaging 8.5 points and 5.3 rebounds, while shooting 46 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from deep -- but is capable of stepping into the starting lineup in the event of injuries
Raptors GM Masai Ujiri has now reached agreements with both Kyle Lowry (who agreed to a four-year, $48 million deal) and Patterson, attempting to keep the team together after a pleasantly surprising season. Among Toronto's free agents, Patterson was the second-highest priority after Lowry, and now Ujiri has succeeded in retaining both. Next up: a decision on reserve point guard Greivis Vasquez.
Patterson's game is defined by doing the little things rather than by putting up spectacular individual numbers. While his 14.7 Player Efficiency Rating is mediocre, he posted a team-high +9.9 net rating, and Toronto was meaningfully better on both sides of the ball when he was on the court compared to when he was on the bench. Toronto's top-10 defense was a key driver of its success last season, and Patterson boasted one of the best defensive ratings on the roster. He gets it done with a good mix of quickness and strength, and he is essential for match-up purposes when opponents try to go small.
The 2010 lottery pick was drafted by Houston and then traded to Sacramento at the 2013 trade deadline in the deal that sent Thomas Robinson to the Rockets. Although Patterson lacks Robinson's eye-popping athleticism, this contract is evidence that Patterson was able to make the most of his skills once he found the right roster fit. Patterson now goes down as one of the biggest winners of the Gay trade, as he swapped a crowded Sacramento frontcourt for a clear, defined role north of the border. Without that midseason move, it's unlikely that Patterson would have found this type of financial reward.
Still, the contract terms are reasonable for Toronto. Patterson compares favorably to the other players -- Jodie Meeks, Darren Collison and Shaun Livingston -- who have agreed to sign in this price range so far in the summer. Ujiri should have no trouble moving this contract if Toronto finds itself needing to change direction during the next few years.