Another great piece from Eric Koreen of the National Post from training camp, this time focusing on DeMar DeRozan. You can read it in full here.
In the article, DeRozan is asked about his potential free agency next summer when he can opt out of a $9.5 million option and get at least double that (or more likely, much more) in the open market thanks to a huge jump in the salary cap next summer. His response:
“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.
“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”
This is, of course, in stark contrast to Derrick Rose's unprompted remarks about looking forward to his 2017 free agency on media day in Chicago earlier this week. The looming question over DeRozan's impending free agency is that he isn't the prototypical perimeter player you build your team around, especially when he's set to make over $20 million annually next season. The knock on DeRozan has been his reliance in the mid-range game, but in the Koreen's piece, he does speak about having worked on his three-pointer and being comfortable shooting it.
If that becomes part of his repertoire, DeRozan can probably take another step on the offensive end. If not, it will be a matter of whether Ujiri wants to commit that amount of money and years to his All-Star shooting guard.