John Salmons now happy to be with Raptors after rejecting move here earlier in career

Finally a Raptor, John Salmons hopes Toronto fans don’t have any hard feelings.

Back in 2006, Salmons a versatile swingman, famously backed out of a five-year, $23 million sign-and-trade deal with Bryan Colangelo’s Raptors, saying his faith urged him to sign elsewhere. He then inked a similar contract with the Sacramento Kings.

“In a very stressful and tough decision, he decided he could not accept the opportunity to play for the Raptors, even though he was excited about the prospect of being in Toronto,” agent Joel Bell said at the time.

Salmons, traded to the Raptors as part of the Rudy Gay deal earlier this week, said the 2006 decision was difficult.

“I had a couple options on the table (he also turned Phoenix down). I just felt like it was a thing where I relied on my faith. I felt it wasn’t the place for me to be at the time,” Salmons said Wednesday.

“I hope the fans don’t hold it against me. I felt like it was something I had to do because of my faith. That’s what it was.”

The Raptors settled for Fred Jones and went years trying to find a competent swingman (Jason Kapono came the next year) after missing on Salmons.
Only $1 million of Salmons’ contract is guaranteed for next season and he is a prime candidate to be dealt by the trade deadline in February.

For now though, he’s happy.

“It’s a great opportunity. It’s a great situation. It’s a chance to make the playoffs. We’re right there, a couple games behind first in the Atlantic,” Salmons said.

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