Contrary to earlier reports, a Raptors press release said veteran forward Luis Scola has signed a multi-year deal with the Toronto Raptors – oops maybe not. Perhaps this slip (unintentionally?) confirms what Scola told the media on Monday when he said he wanted to be an important part of a team that was growing towards the possibility of him getting a ring before he retired. However, a one-year deal still makes the most sense for both sides with the salary cap rising dramatically next season and Scola potentially moving into a much more important role on the Raptors than he had in Indiana over the past two seasons.
Correction: Scola signing is a one-year deal.
— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) July 15, 2015
“I wanted to find a place where I could win and be a part of the team, be important,” Scola said. “I was trying to get options to see how close to a ring could I get, but I was also trying to be part of a team, not just be (there) – (not) a team (that) is going to be good but not playing any role. To me it was also important that I could be on a team that is strong, a good place (standings) team with chances to grow and hopefully chase a ring at some point down the line, but also be a part, be important on the team and I felt that this was the situation (here).”
Toronto doesn’t expect to be in the NBA Finals next June, but the feeling is strong that they have taken the right steps this summer to have a shot at it in the not too distance future. At 35-years-old, Scola still has lots of game left in the tank and he has no intention of retiring anytime soon.
“Last couple of years sometimes it was a little frustrating to play less minutes than I was used too,” Scola said. “I feel like my legs are okay. I don’t think I have any limitations. I expect to be a big part of the (Raptors).”
For Toronto to take a bigger than expected step next season, they’ll need the Houston Rockets version of Scola to show up, but even what Scola was able to do in Indiana would still represent an improvement over the production the Raptors were able to get from Amir Johnson last year. Scola remains one of the NBA’s 10 best rebounding power forwards and that has been a major weakness in Toronto.
The terms of Scola’s deal are not yet available. It was originally reported by Adrian Wojnarowski that it was to be a one-year deal worth nearly $3 million. The Raptors had approximately $5 million in salary cap space prior to signing Scola.
“I wanted to win,” Scola said.
The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have signed free-agent forward Luis Scola to a multi-year contract. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Luis is an accomplished NBA and international player. We are thrilled to add his experience and leadership to our team and our locker room,” said Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri. “Luis is a winner wherever he goes.”
Scola, 6-foot-9, 240 pounds, averaged 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds in 81 games with Indiana last season. The eight-year NBA veteran holds career averages of 12.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 26.8 minutes with Houston (2007-12), Phoenix (2012-13) and Indiana (2013-15).
Scola has appeared in 631 of a possible 640 regular season games (428 starts) and completed six seasons without missing a game. He also holds a career-best streak of 311 consecutive games played (Oct. 30, 2007 – Mar. 7, 2011).
Scola was drafted 56th overall by San Antonio at the 2002 NBA Draft, but did not make his NBA debut until the 2007-08 season after his draft rights were traded to Houston. He averaged 10.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and had a .515 field goal shooting percentage during his rookie campaign, which earned him NBA All-Rookie First Team honours. During the next three seasons (2008-11) Scola was one of six players in the NBA to average at least 12.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and shoot .500+ from the field each year, joining Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, David Lee and Amar’e Stoudemire.
Scola posted a career-best 18.3 points in 2010-11 and 8.8 rebounds in 2008-09 with Houston. He also led the Rockets in 2009-10 with a career-high 32 double-doubles. Through 37 playoff games with Houston and Indiana, Scola has averaged 10.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 32.9 minutes.
On the international stage Scola is one of the most decorated players in the game today. He is a three-time Olympian for Argentina, earning a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens while averaging a team-high 17.6 points and 5.0 rebounds. Scola helped Argentina earn bronze at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing by averaging a team-high 18.0 points. While hosting the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship, Scola averaged a tournament-best 21.4 points for Argentina and was named MVP. Scola was part of two gold medal winning teams at the FIBA Americas Championship (2001 and 2011).
Prior to the NBA, Scola played two professional seasons (1995-98) in Argentina with Ferro Carril Oeste before making the jump to Spain with Taugres Saski Baskonia Vitoria and Gijon Baloncesto. Scola signed with Tau Ceramica in 2000 where he played seven seasons and earned Euroleague First Team honours in 2005-06 and 2006-07. He was named the MVP of the Spanish League in 2004-05 and 2006-07 and Rookie of the Year in 2000. While at Tau Ceramica he was teammates with Raptors’ all-time assists leader Jose Calderon (2002-05).