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Barnes, Quickley sign multi-year deals with Raptors

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TORONTO — The future is now for Scottie Barnes and Immanuel Quickley.

Barnes and Quickley had new deals with the Toronto Raptors officially announced on Monday, locking up the team's young core for at least the next three seasons. The two contracts cement the foundation that Raptors president Masai Ujiri is using for his quick rebuild, but both players are ready to start looking forward.

"Say we’re rebuilding, but I just want to win now," said Barnes after a news conference at the Globe and Mail Centre where both deals were made official. "I feel like that's my mindset each and every single day.

"I want to win basketball games and rebuild this thing back to where it was, try to get back to the top of the East."

Quickley was even more direct when asked for his timeline: "Right now."

"I feel like I know what it takes to win as far as you know, getting to the playoffs," he said. "I know what the playoffs feel like, I know what winning feels like, so just understanding what you have to do on a day-to-day basis.

"Not saying it's going to be easy, but just understanding that if you put your mind to anything and you're willing to work for it, you can achieve it."

It would be hard for the Raptors to have a worse season than the 2023-24 campaign.

A 15-game losing skid fuelled by injuries, bereavement leaves, and a lifelong NBA ban for backup centre Jontay Porter after he allegedly manipulated the outcomes of games for betting purposes, dropped Toronto to a 25-57 record, 12th in the Eastern Conference.

It also saw Ujiri's front office dismantle the team in a series of four trades.

"It’s been a tough year and a half and maybe that’s partly my fault and partly coming at us in different ways but it just wasn’t us," said Ujiri. "That’s not who we are, that’s not what I want to be.

"That’s not what this team, these fans, this city, deserve in any way."

Three different times Ujiri promised that the Raptors would again be a championship team during Monday's news conference and subsequent media scrums.

"First day I took the job here I guaranteed it and I’m guaranteeing it again: We will win in Toronto, guarantee it," he said, laughing and shrugging when asked when.

Per team policy, the financial details of Barnes and Quickley's multi-year contracts were not announced.

Media reports say that Barnes agreed to a five-year US$224.9-million deal starting in the 2025-26 season. Quickley reportedly agreed to a five-year, $175-million contract.

RJ Barrett of Mississauga, Ont., who was traded to Toronto by the New York Knicks along with Quickley on Dec. 30, has a contract in place until the 2026-27 season.

Quickley is the oldest of that trio at 25, giving the Raptors a fresh young core to build around.

"I don’t like to lose, and all this rebuild talk, it’s whatever," said Barnes. "I want to go out there and win games and I feel like as a competitor, I feel like what we can go out there on the floor with this team that we built, we can do it.

"We’ve got everything right here and we can do it."

Barnes was named to his first all-star game last season, averaging 19.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals over 60 games.

Quickley averaged 17 points, 4.9 assists, and 3.8 rebounds between New York and Toronto, but notably all of his stats went up when he moved to the Raptors as he switched to point guard from shooting guard and played more minutes per game.

"When I'm done playing my career, I want to say that I tried to meet every challenge head-on. I didn't shy away from anything," said Quickley. "You only get to play in the NBA one time in your career.

"Pressure is an opportunity for you to rise and I'm looking forward to the opportunity."

Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic as well as players Bruce Brown, Gradey Dick, Davion Mitchell, and Ochai Agbaji were all in attendance for the news conference. The team was headed to Las Vegas for NBA Summer League later in the week.

Dick and Agbaji were both on the Raptors' summer league roster announced on Sunday, as 2024 first-round draft pick Ja’Kobe Walter and 31st overall pick Jonathan Mogbo, who is Barnes's childhood best friend.

"We’re excited about Summer League, we’re excited about watching these guys play, but in the NBA you never know what can come your way," said Ujiri. "Our goal is give this young group a chance and see how we continue to grow as a team."

Toronto will open play on July 13 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on the campus of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2024.

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