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Valanciunas closer to joining Raptors

Jonas Valanciunas has started negotiations on the release agreement with his team in Lithuania, sources said, an important step in the 2011 lottery pick finally being able to join the Raptors. While it has been expected all along that Valanciunas would be in the NBA in 2012-13 after a final season in his native country, news of talks with Lietuvos Rytas are a comforting development for Toronto fans who missed having their center of the future in 2011-12. The release agreement is part of the process before Valanciunas can pay the $2.4-million buyout to the team in Lithuania and sign in Toronto. The Raptors are allowed to pay $550,000 of that.

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