DeMar DeRozan has thrown his name into the free agency fray, as Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com is reporting that the Toronto Raptors guard has opted out of the final year of his contract.
Raptors G DeMar DeRozan has officially opted out and is a free agent, league sources informed @clevelanddotcom. His deadline was June 15.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 13, 2016
This is pretty much the standard operating procedure for players of DeRozan’s caliber, so it’s certainly not surprising. Based on his comments in February, DeRozan doesn’t plan on leaving Toronto.
“This has always been home to me,” DeRozan said, per ESPN’s Marc Stein. “I took pride in putting on this Toronto Raptors jersey since I’ve been drafted here. And my whole goal was to get this team to the point where it is now. And I feel I’ve been a major key to that.”
Keeping DeRozan will not be cheap for Toronto, though. As the Raptors are his current team, the CBA will allow them to pay DeRozan more than any potential rival. But according to a January article from ESPN’s Zach Lowe, “A bunch of teams, including DeRozan’s hometown Lakers, are prepared to offer him a max deal starting at $25 million per season.”
It’s possible that some minds have changed in the time since, but it’s unlikely that enough have changed to alter the overall narrative. DeMar DeRozan may want to stay with the Raptors, and realistically, the feeling is probably mutual. While a reunion may be mutually desired, expect it to be expensive.