The Los Angeles Lakers are not the only ones gearing up for an important offseason. The Toronto Raptors fell just six wins short of an NBA championship after getting ousted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday, and now they have a crucial summer ahead of them.
With Bismack Biyombo set to hit the free agent market after a stellar postseason performance, his inevitable price tag could mean his departure from the north. The Raptors are looking at having roughly $20 million in salary cap space this summer, and if they hope to re-sign DeMar DeRozan, it is going to take all of that space up.
There has been plenty of buzz about DeRozan opting out of his contract this summer to get a far more lucrative contract with the salary cap increase, and he has always been linked a heavily to the Los Angeles Lakers. DeRozan grew up in Compton and went to the University of Southern California, so many have speculated that he would want to return home for max money this summer.
But as ESPN’s Mike Mazzeo reports, the two-time NBA All-Star only has one team in mind.
“My mindset has always been Toronto. I’ve always preached it. I was passionate about it when we were losing, when we were terrible. I said I was 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 that up after we win.”
DeRozan went on to add that he takes pride in being a member of the Raptors organization and his mindset is on focused on what can be done in Toronto.
The spearhead of the DeRozan to Los Angeles speculation was ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, so the buzz should have been taken with a massive grain of salt in the first place, but now it appears that the 26-year-old has buried those rumors, at least for now.
DeRozan could always have a change of heart, but if Toronto offers him a five-year max contract, it’s hard to imagine a return to Los Angeles taking place.
Salary information provided by Basketball Insiders.
For the full DeRozan interview from Mazzeo, click here.