DeMar DeRozan played 78 regular season games this season with the Toronto Raptors. He played 2804 minutes and made 614 field goals out of the 1377 he took during that time. He was part of the unit that took the team to a historic 56 win season and to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. His playoff performance was brought into question more than a few times. He missed 241 of the 398 field goals he took in 20 games and had 45 turnovers. The question that is lingering going into the summer months is will he return to the Raptors next season?
DeRozan is expected to decline his $10 million player option and enter free agent territory this summer. The dollar figure floating around for DeRozan is a max deal nearly double his current yearly option at a cool $20 million.
“My mindset has always been Toronto.” DeRozan responded when asked about his status. “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.”
On a hot muggy Saturday in Toronto, DeRozan and a handful of his teammates gave their exit interviews. DeRozan was greeted by a group of anxious reporters hoping for a glimpse into his mindset going into the summer.
“It doesn’t matter what he does.” Kyle Lowry responded when asked if he would help DeRozan with his decision. “I am his friend first and I am going to love him to death no matter what he does. Of course I want him back but I am still going to support him because he is my friend before all of this.”
DeRozan has constantly been linked by reports to the Los Angeles Lakers because he grew up in Compton and went to the University of Southern California.
“I grew up in L.A. That’s my home. I let whoever comes up with that say what they want to say. Only thing appealing to me is the things I’ve done in this organization and the things that can be done here. And that’s always been my mindset since I’ve been here.”
There was a key statement that DeRozan made during his exit interview that should give fans hope that DeRozan is going to stay a Raptor. “I’m a loyal person. At this point of my career winning is the only thing that matters.” If winning is the only thing that matters then DeRozan is going to stay far away from the Los Angeles Lakers. That storied team missed the playoffs for the second year in a row and had the worst season in franchise history.
It is expected that the Raptors and many other teams are going to throw everything at DeMar, including maximum money and the kitchen sink. The reason he wouldn’t stay a Raptor in my mind is if a team with a better win record and constant playoff performances comes at him.
It seems that his heart is in Toronto and wouldn’t mind the idea of staying a Raptor his entire career.
“I think that’s the most incredible thing you can do, me personally.That’s awesome.”