DeMar DeRozan is going to be a highly sought-after free agent in the summer of 2016. The two-guard is expected to opt out of his $10 million option and seek a fresh max deal.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported Tuesday that DeRozan’s hometown team – the Los Angeles Lakers – is already preparing to offer the Toronto Raptors All-Star a max contract. “A bunch of teams, including DeRozan’s hometown Lakers, are prepared to offer him a max deal starting $25 million per season, and the Raptors know they will have to spend big to keep him,” wrote Lowe.
Kyle Lowry, DeRozan’s backcourt partner, is still hopeful that the Raptors front office would spend enough to keep intact the duo that has guided the team to the No 2 seed in the Eastern Conference this season. “The grass ain’t always greener. I want him (DeRozan) back, but it’s not my decision,” Lowry told ESPN in an interview.
Jordan Clarkson to leave Lakers?
If Lakers do land DeRozan, they would have to let go of Jordan Clarkson. Remember: Clarkson will be a restricted free agent over the summer. With the Lakers expected to pursue the likes of Joakim Noah, Hassan Whiteside and Al Horford, too, they won’t have enough cap space to re-sign Clarkson.
Clarkson is expected to receive plenty of offer sheets, which Lakers might find hard to match.
As far as the Raptors are concerned, replacing an all-star like DeRozan would be difficult. With Terrence Ross not blossoming as expected and Demarre Carroll suffering from persisting injury woes, the Raptors could go from a No 2 seed to a lottery team in the span of a year.
Raptors fans would hope that GM Masai Ujiri convinces DeMar DeRozan to stay put in Toronto. During his stint as GM of Denver Nuggets, Ujiri re-signed every core player. Would he succeed in doing the same in the summer of 2016? It would be his ultimate test as a front office executive.