For DeMar DeRozan, he prefers to re-sign with the Toronto Raptors for next season. However, free agency rumors are swirling that he has attracted some of the major teams in the NBA to make a pitch for his services.
Aside from the Raptors, the list of those making a hot pursuit on the 26-year-old out of Compton, California include the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Orlando Magic. DeRozan declined a $10.15 million player option with the Raptors, making him an unrestricted free agent. He did express intent to re-sign with the Raptors, hoping to get a big share of the supposed increase in the salary cap.
However, teams have other plans and that is to lay down an offer that could best fit his talent and skills to their respective rosters. As for DeRozan, he has other plans.
According to ESPN’s Tim McMahon, DeRozan has no plans of meeting any of the teams which want to sign him. Instead, DeRozan plans to meet with officials from the Raptors’ front office and come up with a better contract for his return with the team.
“My mindset has always been Toronto,” DeRozan told reporters the day after the Raptors were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers. “I’ve always preached it. I was passionate about it when we were losing when we were terrible. I said I was going to stick through this whole thing, and I want to be that guy who brings this organization to where it is now. I definitely don’t want to switch that up after we win.”
McMahon noted that the Raptors can offer DeRozan as much as a five-year maximum contract worth $153 million with the NBA increasing the salary cap for next season. Though it is still to be determined if the Raptors has enough cap space for such kind of an offer. But other teams could pitch in a good four-year contract worth $114 million.
This season, DeRozan has averaged 23.5 points, 4.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game which has overshadowed his career stats. But others see DeRozan inconsistent with his performance during the playoff round. But his numbers speak for itself as he averages 24.0 points, 3.2 assists, and 3.8 rebounds in their series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. His production was not enough though as they lost the series, but there is no doubt that DeRozan has contributed to the Raptors cause.
Even Raptors’ general manager Masai Ujiri is upbeat with the decision of DeRozan to re-sign with them. He noted that DeRozan was a priority for the team this summer and they could not wait to work on his contract when the free agency opens on July 1.
While DeRozan is much focused on a return to the Raptors roster, he will also be busy this summer as he and teammate Kyle Lowry are part of the 12-man roster for Team USA which will see action in the upcoming Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.