On Aug. 17, Zarar Siddiqi of Raptors Republic cited a report from Lithuanian journalist Jonas Miklovas that said Valanciunas and the Raptors were in discussions on a long-term contract. Then, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported the 23-year-old big man could be in line to earn $60-plus million over the next four years. He added Valanciunas flew back to Toronto in order to move negotiations along.
While he's in line for a big payday, Toronto also has to retain enough space to potentially re-sign Terrence Ross, who is a restricted free agent in 2016, and the combination of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, who have early termination options in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Paying Valanciunas roughly $15 million a year is a much more reasonable sum, especially when you consider Enes Kanter, who is a comparable player to Valanciunas and making $70 million over the next few years.
If anything, Kanter is slightly worse, as CBSSports.com's Matt Moore pointed out:
According to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, that was a consideration for Raptors management:
You could argue Valanciunas hasn't progressed as expected over the last few years, but Toronto is making the right decision to extend him, especially for such a sensible cap figure.
And with Valanciunas out of the way, Toronto can focus more on re-signing the likes of Ross, DeRozan and Lowry in the future.