UPDATE: Raptors Sign John Lucas III (#258)
The Toronto Raptors are closing in on the signing of free-agent point guard John Lucas III, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com the sides are in advanced discussions to finalize the terms on a multiyear deal to add Lucas to a backcourt rotation that had already been strengthened earlier this month by the Raptors' acquisition of Kyle Lowry.
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One source said Wednesday the Chicago Bulls, who've employed Lucas for much of the past two seasons, were resigned to losing the 29-year-old.
With the Raptors and representatives for point guard Jose Calderon working together on trying to find a new home for Calderon via trade, as ESPN.com reported last week, Lucas has been targeted by the Raptors to potentially serve as Lowry's primary backup when Calderon -- who wants a fresh start -- moves on.
The Raptors, though, have insisted for weeks that they were unwilling to release Calderon via the amnesty clause and will now keep the Spaniard -- after the passing of Tuesday's 2012-13 amnesty deadline -- as he enters the final year of his contract (valued at $10.6 million) as a possible trade chip between now and the NBA's annual trade deadline in February.
After playing in Italy, Spain, China and the D-League, Lucas gained an NBA foothold over the past two seasons and had some big moments in the spring after the Bulls lost Derrick Rose to injury for long stretches.
Lucas scored 25 points against Washington in January in his first NBA start, then scored 24 points to spark the Bulls to a home win in March over eventual champions Miami with Rose sidelined by a groin ailment.