As expected DeMar DeRozan has formally opted out of his contract with the Toronto Raptors to join Kevin Durant and other NBA stars in the free agency market this summer and rumors have swirled that DeRozan is weighing his options whether to re-sign with the team or take his skills elsewhere.
DeRozan has declined his player option in a hope to get a maximum contract and makes him an unrestricted free agent, which means he can accept any offer from any team with the Raptors reserves to match the offer to keep him on their roster. DeRozan sees the opportunity of salary cap increasing for the next season and the Raptors have openly stated that DeRozan is a priority for them to re-sign.
That is if DeRozan does not get enticed with an offer from a highly financed team such as the Los Angeles Lakers, which is expected to use their $60 million budget to sign superstars in the free agent market and for the draft. The Lakers has been a consistent team linked to DeRozan and who can blame him, he just averages 23.5 points with 4.5 rebounds and four assists per game in this year’s season. His addition to the Lakers’ young lineup could bring in the experience that they would need going into next season.
However, the Raptors are not giving up on DeRozan that easy as general manager Masai Ujiri has stressed that they will try to bring back DeRozan together with Kyle Lowry and Bismack Biyombo. Ujiri told ESPN that he is optimistic that they could find a common ground to agree with their free agent especially with DeRozan to make another run next season.
“Our No. 1 goal is to bring DeMar back here. We feel great that he wants to come back to our organization. I spoke to him [Sunday], and his eyes were still red. You could tell. He said he felt empty the next day, which was telling. Speaking to him and Kyle [Lowry], they almost felt like we had a game to play still, and that game is not there. There’s that hunger, and you like that, and then now, it’s my part to figure it out,” Ujiri said.
Ujiri added that they are having a hard time on solving the issue on how to make all ends meet in signing all of their free agents this summer, but the players wanted to be back is a good sign for them. He stresses that this kind of negotiations brings the challenge to their position and they will do everything to get good results by July 1.
“I don’t know how possible that is, but honestly, it’s our jobs. We have to figure it out. That’s why we’re brought here to do this. Some of the things are more difficult than others. But to me, the approach is, our guys have said that they want to be here. That’s the first step, to build your culture and build your team, and you try to learn how to win and build winning. That attracts players. That makes players want to stay here. That’s the first step. And then, it’s kind of put on my table, and our guys in the front office, to figure it out. We’ll try to figure it out,” Ujiri explained.
Thus, DeRozan has until June 30 together with other free agents to weigh in things ahead of them and when July comes, it will be a very busy day as teams will try to get hold of him to discuss their offers and DeRozan will surely make his career decision for his future.
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