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Los Raptors: Toronto signs Spanish Cup Finals MVP

7/24/2006 - Toronto Raptors

TORONTO -- Bryan Colangelo is continuing to give the
Toronto Raptors a European imprint.

The Raptors on Monday signed forward Jorge Garbajosa, the MVP
of the last two Spanish Cup Finals, to a multiyear contract.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Since Colangelo has taken over the Raptors as president and
general manager, he has traded for Slovenian center Rasho
Nesterovic, hired Maurizio Gherardini as his assistant and
selected Italian center Andrea Bargnani with the top overall
pick in the NBA draft.

Colangelo signed two-time Euroleague MVP Anthony Parker, who is
an American.

Garbajosa, 6-foot-9, 245-pounds, spent the past two seasons with
Unicaja Malaga, helping the team win the 2005-06 ACB League
championship and the Spanish National Cup. This past season, he
averaged 14.9 points and 6.9 rebounds and 35 minutes for
Unicaja in the Euroleague this past year.

"Jorge Garbajosa has contributed toward winning at every stop in
his professional career," Colangelo said. "We anticipate he
will bring experience, leadership and toughness to this
basketball team."

A two-time Olympian for Spain, Garbajosa, 28, played for Italian
power Benetton Treviso from 2000-04 under Gherardini and Phoenix
Suns coach Mike D'Antoni.
"It's an important moment for me," Garbajosa said in a
conference call from Spain. "I have played a lot of years here in
Europe, and the Toronto Raptors gave me the opportunity to try to
play in the best league in the world. I like the city, I like the
team, I like everything else, so I want to be part of it."
Gherardini, Toronto's new
assistant general manager and Benetton's former GM, recommended the
Raptors sign Garbajosa.
"He's a guy who's not afraid of fighting anybody," Gherardini.
"He's got the size to go against guys in the paint without being
afraid of anybody."

Information from SportsTicker and The Associated Press was used in this report.