Former Toronto Raptors guard Nando De Colo was named the 2015-16 Euroleague MVP on Thursday. De Colo also took home the Alphonso Ford trophy as the Euroleague’s top scorer and was named to the All-Euroleague First Team, all in recognition of him helping lead CSKA Moscow to the Euroleague Final Four, which begins tomorrow.
Last season, De Colo was named the VTB United League MVP for leading CSKA to the VTB United League title, and they could be on their way to a repeat later this month. Across the VTB and Euroleague, De Colo is averaging 17.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.3 steals while shooting 53.1 percent from the floor and 44.7 percent on threes.
We tell you this not because De Colo is an ex-Raptor necessarily, but because the Raptors still hold his rights. Since De Colo left for Russia following the 2013-14 season, the Raptors have opted not to renounce De Colo’s rights, a move that comes with the slightest of flexibility costs (he retains a $1.9-million cap hold on their books) but gives them a claim to him should he come back.
While the Raptors can’t sign-and-trade De Colo (this is not allowed for players who were out of the NBA the season prior), they will be able to match any offer sheet he’s signed to. The Raptors can offer him a $1.83-million qualifying offer to retain his restricted free agency rights, and allowing them to match if he signs an offer sheet (the most a predatory team can offer in the first year of a deal is the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, under the Gilbert Arenas Provision, but they can back-load the deal to force Toronto into a larger first-season cap hit, a la Landry Fields). The Raptors also own his Early Bird Rights, which means they can use the Early Bird Exception to exceed the cap to re-sign him, up to 175 percent of his previous salary (which was $1.46 million), on a deal that’s a minimum of two years.
That may not get it done, but it’s good to have options, and De Colo is generally considered one of the best guards playing outside of the NBA right now.
Acquired for Austin Daye at the 2014 trade deadline, the 28-year-old De Colo appeared in 21 games for the Raptors, averaging 3.1 points and 1.6 assists. He also saw four minutes in a playoff game for the team.