Several teams, including the Lakers, are ready to make maximum-salary offers to DeMar DeRozan, and Nicolas Batum is likely to draw max offers, too, writes Zach Lowe of ESPN.com in a piece on the Raptors. Toronto GM Masai Ujiri “has long been connected” to Batum, as Lowe puts it, and Batum’s camp has spoken in the past about his desire to play for the Raptors, as Lowe reported over the summer. However, Batum was vehement in the wake of that offseason report that he wants to remain with the Hornets, and while the Lakers reportedly have a longstanding interest in Southern California native DeRozan, he’s said he’d like to play for Toronto the rest of his career. Indeed, it appears that the most likely outcome for Batum and DeRozan is that they stay put, Lowe concludes, though it appears they’ll be well-compensated to do so.
The pair are eligible for the maximum-salary tier that would give them starting salaries of a projected $24.9MM each. Their incumbent teams can exceed the salary cap using their Bird rights to give them five-year deals with 7.5% raises, while competitors must use cap space and are limited to four-year offers with 4.5% raises. DeRozan was unlikely to command max salaries as recently as a year ago, but improvement in his pick-and-roll play has changed that, as Lowe details. Batum and DeRozan are both in the midst of career seasons that have no doubt enhanced their respective values.
For what it’s worth, both have lists of suitors that reportedly include the Nets, who have $45MM in guaranteed salaries against a projected $89MM cap, leaving not quite enough room to snag both of them. The Lakers have only about $23MM committed, though it’s unclear if they have strong interest in Batum.
Which would you rather have on a max deal, DeRozan or Batum? Leave a comment to tell us.