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The Toronto Raptors have released Anthony Bennett, the first Canadian ever selected first overall in the NBA draft. (DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Toronto Raptors have released Anthony Bennett, the first Canadian ever selected first overall in the NBA draft. (DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Raptors waive Canadian forward Anthony Bennett Add to ...

The Toronto Raptors have released Anthony Bennett, the first Canadian ever selected first overall in the NBA draft.

Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri made the announcement Tuesday.

“Unfortunately we had to make the decision to waive Anthony Bennett,” Ujiri told reporters.

The move was made so the Raptors could sign free-agent power forward Jason Thompson, who played 28 games for Golden State this season.

Bennett played in 19 games with Toronto, averaging 1.5 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.

The Canadian was taken first overall in the 2013 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers following one year at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Bennett, who grew up in Brampton, Ont., became the first Canadian ever to be a No. 1 selection.

The six-foot-eight, 245-pound forward was part of the package, along with fellow Canadian and top overall selection Andrew Wiggins, sent to Minnesota in the deal that landed Kevin Love in Cleveland in August 2014.

But Bennett was released by the Timberwolves just over a year later and signed a one-year deal with Toronto. In December, the 22-year-old was sent to Raptors 905 of the D-League.

Bennett played 52 games with Cleveland, averaging 4.2 points per game and 12.8 minutes per contest. With Minnesota, Bennett suited up for 57 contests and averaged 5.2 points and 14.3 minutes per game.

Bennett played for Canada at the ‘09 FIBA Americas under-16 event and in 2010 at the under-17 world championship, helping Canada win bronze each time. He and Wiggins were teammates in the 2010 competition.

Bennett was also a member of the Canadian national team that won a silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. Bennett averaged 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game in the tournament.

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