Report: DeMar DeRozan plans to opt out after season

By David Kenyon

In today’s salary-cap era, opting out and signing a new contract is the smart financial decision for an NBA player when given the chance. Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan will make that choice.

Following a Raptors win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wedenesday, Brian Lewis of the New York Post cited a source who said DeRozan is going to opt out of his current deal following the 2015-16 season, but that doesn’t mean he is going to leave.

“I can tell you he’ll opt out. But how he feels about Brooklyn — or anybody else — I can’t say. Only he can answer that. … [DeRozan] has a trait that’s been lost by so many players. It’s called loyalty.”

According to HoopsHype, DeRozan is due $9.5 million next season. That’s nowhere near what he’s worth, especially considering Terrence Ross recently agreed to a three-year extension worth $11 million per season.

This season, Ross has managed 7.9 points per game while shooting a career-worst 39.9 percent from the floor. Can you imagine if DeRozan — who has racked up a team-best 22.6 points as well as 4.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per outing — willingly accepted a lower payday?

Madness.

At 26 years old, DeRozan has entered the point of his career widely considered a player’s prime. DeRozan’s performance is certainly matching that belief. His per-36 numbers and advanced metrics are among the seventh-year pro’s most-efficient rates.

Yes, Toronto’s offseason focus of adding defensive-minded players has helped DeRozan. That shouldn’t diminish his progression. Penalizing someone for having better teammates is foolish.

Most importantly, though, the salary cap is expected to eclipse $100 million by 2017-18. Instead of settling for a deal well below his worth at the current $70 million, DeRozan can opt out and sign a well-deserved long-term max contract near the nine-figure mark.

Even if DeRozan’s plan is to remain with the Raptors, opting out is the smart financial decision for a budding star.