The Raptors’ top two impending free agents offered clues to their future as they cleared out their lockers this morning. In the wake of Friday’s Game 6 loss to the Cavaliers, shooting guard DeMar DeRozan sounded like he has made up his mind to stay in Toronto, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. “I don’t think so,” DeRozan said when asked if he thought he could find a better situation in free agency. “My mindset has always been Toronto. … I don’t want to switch it up now.” In response to a question about playing his entire career with one organization, DeRozan replied, “I think that’s the most incredible thing you can do. … That’s awesome.” (Twitter link). DeRozan, 26, has spent seven years with the Raptors, who took him ninth overall in the 2009 draft. He is expected to turn down a $9.5MM option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent. Toronto can offer a five-year deal worth $144.6MM, while other teams will be limited to four years and $107.4MM. DeRozan also seemed to dismiss rumors that he might be interested in returning to his hometown of Los Angeles and signing with the Lakers. “Only thing appealing to me is the things I’ve done in this organization and the things I can do,” he said. (Twitter link).
Bismack Biyombo also expressed a preference for staying in Toronto, and said he has overheard GM Masai Ujiri state that he will do “whatever it takes” to keep the big man (Twitter link). “I love it up here and I would love to be back,” said Biyombo, who has a shot at getting maximum offers after his playoff performance. Biyombo, who has already decided to opt out of his $2.9MM deal for next season, adds that he would be willing to remain in a reserve role behind Jonas Valanciunas if necessary. “For me it’s about winning,” Biyombo said. “Starting or not starting, it doesn’t matter.” (Twitter link).
There’s more out of Toronto:
- Kyle Lowry will undergo a physical later today, and the Raptors will determine whether the point guard needs surgery on his right elbow, Lewenberg tweets. Lowry offered support to coach Dwane Casey, saying, “That man is the all-time winningest coach here. He’s been great. … He’s grown every year since I’ve been here.” Casey is expected to receive an extension after being on shaky ground heading into the playoffs.
- James Johnson and Jason Thompson won’t be back in Toronto, and Luis Scola and Biyombo could be leaving as well, opines Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. Wolstat writes that the Raptors’ biggest offseason challenge will be to add more shooting to the lineup without breaking up the current core. He also expects turnover on the Toronto bench, where Andy Greer, Rex Kalamian and Nick Nurse have all been rumored for other jobs.
- Oklahoma point guard Isaiah Cousins will work out for the Raptors on Tuesday, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.