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Raptors sign Justin Champagnie to two-year contract

The 2021 undrafted free agent will get a shot to make the team this coming season.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors have signed undrafted forward Justin Champagnie to a multi-year contract. Per team policy, the Raps didn’t disclose the details, but reporting from pals like Blake Murphy and Josh Lewenberg tells us it’s a two-year deal for the league minimum.

The former Pitt star was an intriguing piece for the Raptors last season in limited work on a two-way contract, pitching in a couple points and boards a game over 36 appearances, during which he drove positive play, big time. Per Cleaning the Glass, Toronto was 11.7 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor than off, albeit over just 228 minutes. He also ranked in the 97th percentile of all NBA players in terms of how he impacted his team’s offensive rebounding rate when on the floor.

His career-best night to date came in a 25-point win over the Spurs at home in early January, where he poured in 14 points in 13 minutes, drilling four of five shots from downtown.

When down with Raptors 905, the franchise clearly gave Champagnie the green light to chuck away from outside in the interest of developmental reps, to pretty awesome results — a 41 percent hit rate on more than six attempts a game. All told, he averaged 21.1 / 8.3 / 1.5 with more than a block and steal a game in Mississauga over 14 regular season games.

It figures to be tough for anyone outside of the predicted nine-man rotation going into the season to snag regular minutes from the jump, barring injury of course. Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Precious Achiuwa, Chris Boucher, Thad Young and Otto Porter Jr. figure to comprise Nick Nurse’s inner circle early on. But Champagnie is squarely in the next wave of guys who could crack in for matchup or injury-related reasons, right alongside Khem Birch, Dalano Banton and second-round rookie Christian Koloko. And considering the general Raptorsiness of Champagnie, from his offensive rebound hunting to his multi-positional defense, he might be one of the first guys to slide into the rotation if the need arises — especially if the three-point stroke he flashed in the G-League is more than just a small sample anomaly.

Champagnie joins DJ Wilson (the same deal as Champagnie) and Ron Harper Jr. (two-way) among Raptors Summer League hands to get a deal at least assuring their spot in camp, despite not playing in any games for the team in Vegas after banging up his thumb in a scrimmage.

As for me? I’m firmly in the front seat of the Champagnie wagon. Given what he brings to the table, it would not be at all surprising if this time next year we’re talking about him as a one of Nurse’s favs — a status that’s notoriously tricky to reach, unless you’re Patrick McCaw, of course.