DeMar DeRozan came into free agency with rumors swirling around about where he might end up signing. He was rumored to have interest in the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks, but neither of those teams ended up having any chance to sign him. When everything was said and done, his heart was still with the Toronto Raptors.
It has been a slow start to the NBA offseason so far, but as the big names continue to sign it will get busier. DeRozan is the first big name off the market, and the Raptors did an excellent job getting a deal done.
According to a report from Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports, the Raptors have agreed to a five-year deal with DeRozan.
Last season with the Raptors, DeRozan helped lead his team to the Eastern Conference Finals. They ended up losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the season was exactly what the Toronto fan base needed to see. There is something special being built, and the Raptors were not about to lose their star shooting guard.
DeRozan ended last season averaging 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. He shot 44.6 percent from the field overall and knocked down 33.8 percent from behind the three-point arc.
There are some concerns about the lack of consistency that he showed in the playoffs. He had a rough series against the Indiana Pacers and didn’t have a ton of success against the Miami Heat or Cavaliers either. Toronto will have to hope that DeRozan continues improving his game and develops into a more consistent scorer.
Looking ahead to the 2016-17 season, the Raptors are going to be a major threat in the Eastern Conference once again. Kyle Lowry and DeRozan will pick up where they left off, with Jonas Valanciunas also showing his talent in the playoffs. Toronto could use another move or two to improve their roster, but they will be dangerous as is.
Toronto fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief now that DeRozan has officially been re-signed. Even though he was always expected to return to the Raptors, there was a chance that he would change his mind and leave town.
Immediately after free agency opened, DeRozan opened up a meeting with the Raptors. He went into the free agency period prioritizing money and winning, which are two things that Toronto was able to offer him. It became obvious fairly early on that he would not even consider taking other meetings with the way negotiations were going with the Raptors.
Expect to see the Raptors be serious contenders in the East for years to come with DeRozan leading the way. He is just 26 years old and has a lot of room to grow as a player and leader.
Getting this deal done was important for the Raptors and they were able to do so quickly. If he had gotten away in free agency, there is no question that Toronto would have fallen back into a borderline playoff team. Instead, they will build on last year’s success in the playoffs and try to figure out a way to take the next step.
DeRozan will not be one of those players that gets a maximum contract and stops working on his game. He will use this deal as motivation to continue getting better and will do everything in his power to bring a championship back to Toronto.
Do you think the Toronto Raptors can be viewed as serious championship contenders next season now that DeMar DeRozan has been re-signed? Do you think he should have had visits with other teams before re-signing? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Nell Redmond]