Raptors All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan helped lead Toronto to the best season in franchise history, and says he can’t imagine himself bolting this summer as a free agent.
The Raptors’ 2015-16 campaign ended after six games against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals; DeRozan wants to help his squad get over the hump.
Masai Ujiri: “Our No. 1 goal is to bring DeMar back here.”
— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) May 30, 2016
The 26-year-old hopes to follow in his idol Kobe Bryant’s footsteps and stick with the same franchise for his entire career.
Per the Toronto Sun:
“I don’t think so,” DeRozan replied when asked whether he thought he could find a better situation elsewhere. […] “My mind-set has always been Toronto. I always preached it. I was passionate about it when we was losing. When we was terrible, I said I’m 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 up after we win,” he said. “I think one thing that’s always greatly said about me is I’m a loyal person. That’s just how I live my whole life. Period. And at this point in my career, it’s all about winning. That’s the only thing that matters.”
DeRozan, a Raptor since being selected with the ninth pick of the 2009 draft, will become the franchise leader in games, points and minutes played next season, if he returns. […] “I haven’t changed, not one bit. I took pride in putting that Raptors jersey on when people counted us out or when people said, ‘Why go to Toronto? Why this, why, that?,’ … You hear it so much, that gave me the motivation to want to prove people wrong or prove critics wrong why this organization can’t be a winning (one),” he said.
The Raptors can pay DeRozan a lot more than any other team, because of the rules of the collective bargaining agreement. A max deal for DeRozan, under the expected $92-million US salary cap will start north of $25 million a season, but other teams can only offer raises of 4.5% per year, for a maximum of four years. The Raptors can offer a five-year deal, with 7.5% annual raises.