ďAs the time rapidly approaches for Leandro to make a decision regarding his option to remain in Toronto as part of the Raptors for the coming season, there are several different things that we are looking at. First and foremost, there is the possibility of exercising our option and staying in Toronto. This would allow us to continue the relationship we have with the exceptional fans here and with the entire Raptors organization. However, before we decide, we have been testing the market and the market has expressed a great deal of interest. As we previously said, we are letting the market determine where Leandro will play. For us this is a business decision and will be driven by market competition.
In addition, we are trying to determine what is the best fit for Leandro in the long term and not just for this next year. There has been talk of the possibility of the Raptors offering a multi-year deal so that we can stay here, however as things stand today, no formal offer has come from the Raptors. So at this time we are looking at what is being offered in the marketplace.
We have received offers from different teams in Brazil and while we are in the final stages of negotiations with them, we have yet to come to a final agreement. We are also aware of the heightened interest from many of the top European teams and are definitely open to that possibility. There are several factors that the European teams have indicated that show their interest in Leandro. For example, Leandroís game suits a European style because of his great shooting ability and many teams in Europe would love a skilled offensive player such as Leandro. Furthermore, Leandroís reputation as a great teammate and an open-minded player is attractive to European clubs because he would adapt quickly to a new environment. Leandro also has many years of international experience in FIBA basketball.
We will analyze their offers but we also need to make a decision soon (within the next few days). Leandro will be a valuable asset to any club that he plays for; the clubs in Brazil know this and the teams in the Euroleague also know what he can do for them.
As is the case with any professional athlete, Leandroís real interest is being able to play the sport that he loves - basketball. Although he would miss the city of Toronto and all of the great fans were he to leave, he understands that a professional athleteís career is short and he needs to be where he has been given the best offer. Being able to play basketball and compete at a world-class level, whether it be in Europe, Brazil, or North America, is what he has been working for all his life. Leandro has been fortunate for the opportunity to have been able to do this with many different organizations. As we look for the best place for him now at this point in his career, we must consider all of the options available to him. The next few days will be crucial as we figure out what we will do.Ē