SPORTS

Home and family: Raptors introduce free-agent signings Carroll, Joseph

07/09/2015 10:24 EDT | Updated 07/09/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - The Toronto Raptors introduced two new members of their family Thursday with a third on the way.

Forward Demarre Carroll and Canadian guard Cory Joseph were introduced as Toronto's newest free-agent signings, with forward Luis Scola expected to join them shortly. Caroll and Joseph both pointed to the importance of family and home in the Raptors' sales pitch.

"They included my family. Whenever you include someone's family, that's real," said Carroll. "I didn't only have the negotiations with myself, but also with my family. I felt like that was a big part of it. Beyond this basketball, at the end of the day, all you have is family.

"I feel like they took me in as their family and I'm happy to be a part of the Toronto Raptors family."

Joseph, 23, of Pickering, Ont., grew up a Raptors fan and couldn't hide his excitement about playing for his hometown team.

"I can't wait to put my jersey on," said Joseph, who is expected to back up all-star point guard Kyle Lowry. "I've thought it over in my head and I still don't know how I'm going to feel when I put my jersey on and go out to play that first game for the Toronto Raptors.

"It's still kind of surreal to me, so I still need to let it settle in a little bit."

Carroll, 28, averaged 12.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 70 games for the Atlanta Hawks last season, and was touted as one of the top players at his position available in free agency. He's a strong defender and an outside shooting threat and could slip into the starting lineup in place of Terrence Ross.

Carroll started 69 games to help Atlanta to a franchise-high 60 wins and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs last season.

He's also a proven post-season performer which Toronto could use, having been dispatched in ugly fashion by Washington in the first round of last year's playoffs.

Carroll was Atlanta's leading scorer through the first two rounds. He had a run of six games with 20-plus points, and recorded 25 points and 10 boards in the close-out game against Washington. He suffered a knee injury in Game 1 of the third round against Cleveland, but said Thursday he was 100 per cent again and ready to play.

Joseph spent his first four NBA seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, helping them win the league title in 2014. He played in 79 games last season with the Spurs, averaging 6.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists.

Both players also pointed to Toronto's fervent fan base as a selling point.

"I think they have they have the best fans in the NBA and I'm not just saying that," said Carroll. "Just looking on TV and seeing all the fans outside the Air Canada Centre was amazing. I think Toronto has a lot to offer.

"I just want to come here and help compete and do my part and help this team achieve the goals we want to achieve."

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri feels his team's developed a culture that's attractive to potential free agents.

"The audience we got (during free agency), the response we got, we're happy, we're happy to be who we are," said Ujiri. "This is who we are.

"We're Toronto and we're the Toronto Raptors. This is our city. I always say there's one team, one country. We're going to preach that forever, until we win. Until we win big here."

Carroll has reportedly agreed to a four-year deal worth US$60 million, which would make it the largest free-agency signing in franchise history.

Scola has announced on Twitter he's signed with the Raptors, but the deal is not yet official. The six-foot-nine forward averaged 20.5 minutes, 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds with the Indiana Pacers last season.

Toronto also waived guard Luke Ridnour on Thursday. Toronto acquired Ridnour and cash considerations from the Oklahoma City Thunder on June 30 for the draft rights to forward Tomislav Zubcic.

The six-foot-two, 175-pound Ridnour has averaged 9.3 points, 4.5 assists and a steal over 830 career games.

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