The Toronto Raptors had perhaps the most successful season in 2016 for a team that didn’t win a championship. They pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers to six games in the Eastern Conference Finals with the help of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.
It would have been sad to see that core suddenly disappear because of free agency. Luckily, the Raps were able to retain their slashing superstar. Like always, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical made the announcement.
Free agent DeMar DeRozan has agreed to a five-year, $139 million-plus deal with the Toronto Raptors, league sources told The Vertical.
DeRozan just earned the second-biggest deal of all time (for now), surpassing Kobe’s seven-year, $136 million contract in 2004 with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“He’s made it very, very clear that he wants to be in L.A.,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take back in May. “He has family out there. He’s from out there. He wants to be in L.A. He wants to wear the purple and gold, and if there’s a way for it to happen, again he’s restricted, if there’s a way for it to happen, DeMar DeRozan will be in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform next season.”
Sure, a lot has happened with DeRozan and the Raptors since then. Nobody expected them to actually compete against the Cavs. But even when Stephen A. began to backpedal, he was still stirring the Lakers pot.
None of that happened. It could have happened, but it didn’t. If DeMar really wanted to go back to LA, he most certainly had the opportunity.
But as Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star notes, DeRozan never had any intention on leaving.
He has always spoken about his desire to do things his way. All season, the loudest screaming pulpit-holder at ESPN would bellow that DeRozan wanted to be a Laker, he wanted to go home, and it was just so much empty air, dissipating into the sky. DeRozan, at the end of the season and before, always made it clear.
“I never seen someone do something and said I want to do it that way,” DeRozan said at the end of the year, after the entire playoff opera was in the books. “I want to do it my way. For the longest time, there was no surpassing Vince (Carter), and in my head for the longest, I always told myself, I’m going to have an opportunity to be one of the greatest Raptors of all time, to do something that hasn’t been done yet, to do something that hasn’t been dreamed of.
DeRozan is currently second on Toronto’s all-time scoring list. He’s seen that franchise grow into a contender in the East. Not to mention Canada’s health care system is far superior. Why the hell would he want to leave?
This is Stephen A.’s second false report about LA. Earlier this season, he said Kevin Durant had the Lakers at the top of his free agency list (and we all know how that turned out). Fast-forward to the offseason and KD isn’t even entertaining offers from the purple and gold.
But you can’t blame Stephen A. entirely. The Lakers organization has been delusional for years. They go into every offseason thinking they’ll land the top two free agents, regardless of how they finished that season, because they’re the Lakers. So it’s highly likely some “inside source” has been reading into Jim Buss’ ego a little too much.