The Raptors are working “hard” to move not only Kyle Lowry, but DeMar DeRozan as well, according to Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld (via Twitter). A source tells Ingram that the price tags on the two Raptors are “surprisingly high.”
While Lowry has been the subject of several recent trade rumors, DeRozan hasn’t been mentioned as frequently, though ESPN.com’s Chad Ford reported on Monday that Toronto seemed open to discussing him in deals. Lowry is on an expiring contract, so moving him wouldn’t necessarily signal an all-out rebuild. However, the same can’t be said of DeRozan, whose contract runs through 2017.
DeRozan’s four-year, $38MM extension was panned when it was signed, but it doesn’t look too bad now, considering how well the 24-year-old is playing this season. Although he and Rudy Gay were often grouped together when fans and pundits criticized an inefficient Raptors offense, DeRozan has been more effective than his former teammate, averaging 21.4 PPG with a career-high 17.4 PER.
Since he’s locked up through 2017 at a reasonable price, DeRozan could conceivably be part of the franchise’s next contending roster, so there’s no real pressure for the Raptors to move him. But it was former GM Bryan Colangelo, not Masai Ujiri, who extended the swingman, and it’s not clear whether Ujiri feels DeRozan is part of the team’s long-term plans. If dealing him could land the Raptors a couple assets and improve the team’s odds of landing a top 2014 pick, Ujiri may opt to go that route.
As for Lowry, the Knicks continue to look like the most logical fit for the veteran point guard, particularly after Pablo Prigioni was sidelined with a broken toe. However, negotiations between Toronto and New York weren’t believed to be active as of this week.