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The Raptors have reached a contract agreement with controversial high school phenom DeAngelo Collins, according to several NBA sources.

Collins was not selected in the June 26 NBA draft, for which he had declared himself eligible. Therefore, the 6-foot-10, 230-pound high school senior became a free agent and could seek a deal with any club.

Because the NBA currently is in the midst of its designated free-agent negotiation period, the Raptors are not permitted to confirm any agreement, written or verbal, with Collins until July 17.

However, Collins and the agency which represents him -- Immortal Sports and Entertainment of Santa Monica, Calif. -- are under no such gag order, and an Immortal Sports representative confirmed the deal when speaking with a West Coast newspaper earlier this week.

The deal likely is not fully guaranteed, although Collins probably will receive a certain amount of money up front. There is a chance he will play with the Raptors' summer-league team later this month.

Collins has some Keon Clark in him, according to those who have seen both play.

Collins, a product of Inglewood (Calif.) High School, has long arms and decent quickness, which makes him a good rebounder. He runs the court well and has shown signs of having some solid post moves, too.

So if Collins has so much on-court potential, why wasn't he drafted?

At least part of the issue was Collins' reputation for having a bad temper and his numerous run-ins with the law.

Most notably, while Collins was at Tustin High School in Stockton, Calif., he assaulted a teammate, who wound up with permanent head injuries and a fractured nose.

Collins pleaded guilty to felony assault and served six months in juvenile hall, as well as being fined $35,000 US.

However, many of those who know Collins claim he has matured significantly since moving to southern California about three years ago.

Because Collins is considered such a long-term project, his agreement with the Raptors is not expected to have a direct impact on the club's efforts to re-sign Clark, who is a restricted free agent.

"There's nothing new to report (on the Clark front) -- it's a holiday (Independence Day) in the United States," Raptors general manager Glen Grunwald said yesterday.

Asked if he has become more or less optimistic about re-signing Clark, Grunwald said, "I'm about the same. It's going to be tough for us to keep Keon. But we're going to try."

There are no league rules that would stop the Raptors from signing Clark to a lucrative, long-term pact.

However, the team is operating under a self-imposed tight budget in an effort to avoid the league's luxury tax, which will penalize the highest-salaried clubs.
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