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Tuesday, October 31, 2006
PG Ford gets extension, will drive Raptors into future

Associated Press

TORONTO -- Point guard T.J. Ford and the Toronto Raptors agreed Tuesday on a contract extension.

T.J. Ford

Ford signed a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year. The extension could pay the guard as much as $33 million.

Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo had until midnight Tuesday to make the deal, otherwise the 23-year-old would become a restricted free agent at the end of this season.

"Just knowing that I'll be here some more years, and with a great group of guys we have we just look forward to building a championship team," Ford said after Tuesday's practice.

Ford was acquired in an offseason trade with the Milwaukee Bucks for forward Charlie Villanueva, runner-up for NBA rookie of the year last season. The speedy Ford was the perfect fit for the fast-paced offense Colangelo wanted the Raptors to play.

"We think T.J. has all the physical tools, he has the mental capacity, he's a tough kid, he's got some tools that a lot of people don't have: speed and quickness," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said.

Ford, the No. 8 selection in the 2003 NBA draft, averaged 12.2 points and a team-high 6.6 assists in 72 games last season following a spinal-cord injury that sidelined him for a season and a half.

"I want to be one of the best point guards in the NBA, and that's my main focus," Ford said.

The Raptors also announced they have exercised the fourth-year option for forward Kris Humphries. Humphries is now guaranteed through the 2007-08 season.