The Nets are expected to make DeMar DeRozan one of their primary targets in free agency this summer, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post, who hears from a source close to DeRozan that he’ll turn down the player option for next season on his contract with the Raptors. However, DeRozan feels the Raptors have treated him well, and he has an uncommon loyalty, Lewis’ source cautioned. The Aaron Goodwin client has spoken about his loyalty in the past, saying at the start of camp this fall that he takes pride in being the longest-tenured player on the Raptors roster.
It’s no surprise to hear that DeRozan plans to opt out, since his option is worth only slightly more than $10MM and the 26-year-old is the NBA’s 11th leading scorer this season, averaging 22.6 points per game. Zach Lowe of ESPN.com wrote this summer that early indications were that he’d opt out. DeRozan is eligible for a maximum salary of a projected $24.9MM next season, and turning down the option would make him part of a relatively thin 2016 free agent class just as the NBA’s salary cap is set to surge, leaving teams with plenty of cash to burn. The Nets have only about $45MM in guaranteed salary committed for 2016/17 against a projected $89MM cap.
Bojan Bogdanovic and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are the only Nets wing players with fully guaranteed salaries for next season, and the Nets, at 10-25, could use a major upgrade. Brooklyn, which doesn’t have much at the point guard position, either, is reportedly likely to make Mike Conley its top free agent target, though DeRozan, No. 8 in our 2016 Free Agent Power Rankings, probably wouldn’t be far behind. The Raptors have wing players DeMarre Carroll and Terrence Ross signed to long-term deals, but they’d surely be loath to watch DeRozan bolt, especially to another Eastern Conference team.
Where do you think DeRozan will be playing next season? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.