Even though he now resides in Memphis, Jonas Valanciunas made sure to let those associated with the Toronto Raptors know he’ll always look back fondly on his days playing in Ontario’s capital.
In a touching Instagram post, Valanciunas thanked those involved with the Raptors’ organization and the team’s fan base.
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Close to 7 years ago I came to Toronto for a reason. I came for the people, for the Raptors organization, for the city. Thank you guys for believing in me, for drafting me in 2011. It’s a long list of people in Toronto I want to thank. Trainers, front office, arena staff, therapists, my teammates and of course my coaches. Thank you to everyone who helped me in Toronto to go out, compete and play basketball. Through good times or bad times, Toronto fans stood by me from day 1, trusted me so thank you! You have no idea how much I appreciate it.
Aside from thanking the trainers, front office, arena staff, therapists, teammates and coaches he had during his time in Toronto, Valanciunas made sure to thank Raptors’ fans for standing by him since he arrived in the city.
The 26-year-old was traded along with Delon Wright, C.J. Miles and a 2024 second-round draft pick to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for 2012-13 defensive player of the year Marc Gasol hours before the NBA’s trade deadline on Feb. 7.
After being selected fifth overall by Toronto in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Lithuanian played an integral role in helping the Raptors improve their record in each of his first five seasons in the league.
Canadian rapper and Raptors global ambassador Drake and former teammate Norman Powell were some of the notable names who left comments on the big man’s social media post:
Valanciunas appeared in 470 games (444 starts) over the course of his Raptors career, averaging 11.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.