ROME (AP) -Andrea Bargnani will play for the Toronto Raptors through the 2009 season.
The Raptors exercised the third-year option on his contract Friday, securing the Italian forward and the 2006 top pick in the draft.
The Raptors made the announcement Friday in Rome, where they are to face the Boston Celtics and Virtus Lottomatica Roma this weekend as part of the NBA's preseason European tour.
``Andrea has more than lived up to the enormous expectations thrust on him last season as the top pick of the draft,'' Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo said. ``Exercising the option while in Andrea's hometown of Rome could not be more fitting.''
The team retains a fourth-year option on the 21-year-old Bargnani for 2009-10.
During his first season in the NBA, the 7-foot forward averaged 11.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in 65 games, and was a member of the all-rookie first team.
The Raptors face the Celtics on Saturday, Roma on Sunday, and travel to Spain to play Real Madrid.

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