Toronto Raptors View DeMar DeRozen As Top Priority In Off Season

The Toronto Raptors’ quest to bring an NBA Championship to Canada has come to a halt. The Raptors just lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals in six games. Now the offseason officially begins for the franchise. There were questions looming over the team. Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan has a player option on his contract. Many people expect him to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer. According to ESPN.com, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri stated that the former USC Trojans star will be the team’s top priority. The National Basketball Association’s new television deal means that DeRozan can make an estimated starting salary of $25 million next season.

After the game ended, DeMar DeRozan spent some time talking about how proud he is to have stuck it out with the Toronto Raptors. The All Star also stated how much unfinished business he has with the team that drafted him. From the sounds of it, it sounds like DeRozan would prefer to stay with the Raptors. If he were looking to play elsewhere next season, you wouldn’t be able to tell from what he has been saying to the media.

Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri
The Toronto Raptors picked DeMar DeRozan with the ninth selection in the 2009 NBA Draft. He spent one year playing at the University of Southern California. DeRozan was a skinny player. Some people believed that he would be a long-term project for a team.

DeMar DeRozan was praised for his potential and work ethic. Looking at him now, he has been selected to the All Star game twice so far in his career. DeRozan is the longest tenured Toronto Raptors player. If he resigns, he would be on pace to become the franchise’s all time leader in points, minutes, and games played.

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lory
The Toronto Raptors star shooting guard had one of his best years since joining the NBA. DeMar DeRozan averaged 23.5 points, four assists, 4.5 rebounds, and one steal per game in 35.9 minutes. He had a career high in points and tied for a career high in assists. DeRozan also shot 44 percent from the field. The All Star is only 26 years old. He is in the prime of his career.

DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry formed one of the best back courts in the entire NBA. They led the Toronto Raptors to a franchise record in wins. This was the first time in team’s history that won 50 games in a single season. The Raptors finished second in the Eastern Conference. They were one game behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both players are in the prime of their careers. They are only going to continue to get better.

Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey
There has been a lot of talks about the connection between DeMar DeRozan and the Los Angeles Lakers. Many people believe that the Lakers are going to pursue signing DeRozan to their team. Another connection between the two is that the All Star grew up in California and went to high school and college in the state as well. The Lakers will be looking for a new face to the franchise now that Kobe Bryant is retired. DeRozan might be the guy who can fill that role.

DeMar DeRozan has stated to the public that he loves the city of Toronto and would like to be back. His goal is to bring an NBA Championship to the franchise. Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri will be making DeRozan the team’s top priority. The All Star is one of the top shooting guards available in free agency during the off season. If DeRozan does resign with the team, expect the Raptors to be a force in the Eastern Conference next season.

[Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images]