TORONTO (AP) — Patrick Patterson saw the Raptors bring back guards Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez and coach Dwane Casey, and he wanted to stay along for the ride.
So the 6-foot-9 forward re-signed with Toronto for a reported $18 million over three years in the hope that this past season’s playoff run was just the start of something good.
“I was happy at the end of the day we were able to come to great terms — more thrilled that everyone’s coming back from last year, pretty much,” Patterson said Monday. “(We) still have that core group of guys that we can build on and have another successful year.”
The Raptors’ turnaround began in December when they acquired Patterson, Vasquez, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes from Sacramento for Rudy Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy. They went 41-22 the rest of the season, winning the Atlantic Division before losing in seven games to the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs.
Along the way, Patterson averaged 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds a game while serving as a key reserve. In a statement announcing the deal over the weekend, general manager Masai Ujiri said the Raptors were “very pleased with what Patrick brought to us both on the court and in the locker room last season.”
The feeling was mutual, so the 25-year-old restricted free agent felt little uncertainty about returning. Patterson sees the Raptors’ continuity amid a changing NBA landscape as a major positive.
“I look it as a way that we’re building,” he said. “We have something special here, we have something positive. We have a great coaching staff, great organization, great leadership, great players and we have guys who are hungry and willing to learn and get better every single day. I’m glad that we’re all staying together, and with the success that we had last year, hopefully we can build on that and have an even better year.”
It starts with Lowry, who signed a $48 million, four-year deal last week after averaging 17.9 points, 7.4 assists and 4.7 rebounds during his breakout season. His re-signing with the Raptors sent a message to his teammates about the direction of the franchise.
“That just shows that Toronto’s dedicated to him and he’s dedicated to Toronto,” Patterson said. “He wants to be here, he knows that something special is brewing here in Toronto and he wants to be a part of it.”
Patterson also was pleased with the three-year contract extension for Casey, who also played his college ball at Kentucky. Patterson called Casey “one of the key reasons” the Raptors managed to make the playoffs.
“Every single day he brought it, and whenever you have a coach who brings it just as hard as anybody else on the team and who’s just as dedicated, if not more, success is bound to happen,” he said.
The 25-year-old Patterson has career averages of 8.4 points and 4.6 rebounds over 252 NBA games with Houston, Sacramento and Toronto. He was selected by the Rockets with the 14th overall pick in the 2010 draft.