A few days after swingman DeMar DeRozan signed to a four-year contract extension worth $38 million, Toronto Raptors president and GM Bryan Colangelo explained that the decision to retain DD, from perhaps an outsider perspective, was indeed premature.
After all, the long-term commitment made to the former USC Trojan is now in addition to the commitment BC made to Landry Fields over the next three seasons, and oh yes, Terrence Ross, after using last year's lottery pick on the Washington sharp-shooter.
When BC was asked how Ross fits into the equation, he explained that some things take time to develop, but how long exactly? "We talk about the concept of stacking talent, having an ability to have depth at pretty much every position this year, Terrence included at the wing position, is certainly something that we feel very good about. The depth of this team is certainly one of the strong suits," said Colangelo.
Depth is one thing, but that's not what's making most fans irate with this deal. The notion that DeRozan hasn't done enough with his time in Toronto to deserve such a large contract is the issue at hand.
But Colangelo has shone a light on a factor that he's been banking on for a while in regards to the likes of DD, and that's potential. Talent, and the importance of quality retention in this league was mentioned from the GM as well, but it was all about potential.
Potential that we've seen fulfilled in the last two games, and in many ways, even in pre-season.
Maybe Colangelo knew all along?
Although there was no comment made on the risk that accompanied the decision to sign DeRozan to an extension now rather than wait until this off-season, it makes you wonder if negotiations for DeMar's services were in the question. Perhaps BC and co. knew the breakthrough was coming, and if they didn't lock him up now, they would lose him come next summer.
The point is, only time will tell if DeMar lives up to the contract or not.
But I'm one to believe that the position and pressure that DeRozan's been accustomed to throughout his basketball history will help him reach that next level. The expectations for him have always been high and frankly, he hasn't been given the breathing space and talent he's needed to express the full quality of his talents that I believe BC envisions. With key facilitators in Lowry & Fields coming in this year, I believe they'll help to enable his game to be more flexible and free, whereas in the past he's had to force things based on surrounding cast.
It's only two games, but I want to present the possibility that perhaps Raptors' management is ahead of the game here. DeRozan by all accounts had a great off-season, got some top notch experience playing against some of the league's elite, and maybe BC and co. could see this from day one, and knew that this was the year.
DeRozan just "seems" different on the court, carrying himself with a little more swagger and offering an array of moves that he didn't seem to be comfortable taking in the past.
Plus, Colangelo has seen this movie before with Joe Johnson. He balked at keeping him around in Phoenix, let him go to Atlanta, and after that, Johnson's career took off.
Maybe he's seeing the same "pre-breakthrough" signs with DeRozan?
In any event, it's two games, but I thought it was time to offer another potential side to this equation.
Perhaps our our pessimistic worries that come along with this long-term commitment are unfounded?