On Monday afternoon, DeMar DeRozan made the very unsurprising move of opting out of his current contract with the Toronto Raptors to become a free agent, as reported by Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com. He technically had until June 15th to make his decision, but there really was no reason to delay it.
With the salary cap set to rise dramatically, it was assumed that DeRozan would decline his 2016-17 player option, which was worth $9.5 million. It was a simple financial decision; he’ll easily make more than double that with a new deal.
Now, the question becomes whether he’ll remain with the Raptors, or if he’ll test the waters in a new city with a new team.
During Toronto’s press conference after they were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals (their best finish in franchise history), DeRozan expressed his desire to stay with the Raptors.
“My mindset has always been Toronto. I was passionate about it when we was losing. When we was terrible, I said I’m going to stick through this whole thing.”
This past season was DeRozan’s best, as he averaged 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and four assists per game. Given the broad interest across the league for a player like DeMar, the Raptors will likely have to give him the max to keep him, unless he decides to provide the only franchise he has ever played for a discount.
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