DeMar DeRozan, the Toronto Raptors superstar, is expected to sign a maximum contract extension with the team next summer.
DeRozan, set to enter free agency, has been linked with other teams recently but reportedly wishes to stay put in Toronto where he has formed a potent backcourt with Kyle Lowry. Sources note that DeRozan’s decision to stay have been bolstered by the Raptors’ strong showing this season. The Raptors, with a 17-12 record, have been a top-3 team for the most part in the competitive Eastern Conference.
The two-guard is in the middle of a career-best season, averaging 22.4 points, 4.1 assists and 4.3 assists. By opting out of his $9.5 million option next summer, DeRozan can capitalize on the huge jump in salary cap. He stands to earn more than double the amount by signing a fresh extension.
In his last six games, DeRozan is averaging 28.6 points at 50% shooting. According to DeRozan, his newfound efficiency is related to the faith shown by the coaching staff. “I’m going to say I just feel more comfortable than I have felt the past couple of years,” DeRozan said following a 30-point night against Miami Heat in which he stepped up in the clutch moments. “I’m evolving into the player I’ve always wanted to be from me being an all-star (two years back) to being with the USA team and last year unfortunately I got hurt but I felt I was on the right path to continue to grow,” added DeRozan.
DeMar DeRozan proud to be a Raptor
More than anything, DeRozan takes pride in being a Raptor. “I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me. Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that,” the Compton-born guard said earlier this year, when asked about his looming free agency.
In Lowry, 29, and Derozan, 26, the Raptors have a burgeoning backcourt that can carry the workload for the next five years. Lowry won’t hit free agency until 2018. If Lowry and DeRozan continue to improve over the next few summers, there’s no telling how far they can take the Raptors.
DeMar Derozan is also expected to be voted into the All-Star Game to be held in Toronto on Valentine’s Day (February 14, 2016). If you wish to see DeRozan make the team, retweet #NBAVote.