Mar 2, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Tyler Hansbrough (50) reacts against the Golden State Warriors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Warriors 104-98. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Raptors exercise option on Tyler Hansbrough


The Toronto Raptors have picked up their team option on big man Tyler Hansbrough for the 2014-15 season, the team announced Monday.

Hansbrough, 28, signed a two-year deal with the Raptors last offseason, but only $1 million of the second year was guaranteed. Toronto could have cut ties with the former UNC star to free up some extra cap space, but instead will pay his full $3.33 million salary for next season.

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Indiana Pacers, Hansbrough played well in a diminished role with the Raptors last season. Playing a career-low 15.3 minutes per game, he averaged 4.9 points on 47 percent shooting, showing a more efficient offensive game than he had in the past.

Heading into next season, the Raptors still have Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas to start at power forward and center, respectively, while Patrick Patterson could also return after the team extended him a qualifying offer. So Hansbrough will likely fill a similar role to the one he filled last season, providing physical play and rebounding when the key guys need some rest.

This is the second significant move of the offseason for Toronto, which also agreed to trade John Salmons to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Lou Williams and Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira over the weekend. Coming off a surprising run to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference last season, Toronto appears to angling for another trip to the playoffs in 2014-15.

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