DeMar DeRozan didn’t take meetings with any teams besides the Raptors in free agency this summer, and has spoken since then about wanting to spend his entire career in Toronto. As Masai Ujiri tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, that sort of commitment from an All-Star like DeRozan is a big step for a franchise that historically hasn’t been a go-to destination for top free agents.
“It means a lot coming from a player like him,” the Raptors president said. “When DeMar came here, he dedicated himself to Toronto. He’s giving it his all. Everyone was saying, ‘Oh, when DeMar makes all that money,’ and blah, blah, blah. It’s not like it’s going to change that guy. All that guy knows is basketball. DeMar got his contract in the summer and he is performing and playing even better than before. But that is who DeMar is. We all know he is a phenomenal person and basketball player.”
Here’s more from around the Atlantic division:
- Kings guard Arron Afflalo played his old team in New York on Sunday, and said that even though his brief stint with the Knicks didn’t result in much success, he still valued the experience, per Newsday’s Barbara Barker. “Playing for the Knicks is one of those things that whether it was good, bad or indifferent, it’s something to be proud of. It’s really a historic franchise,” Afflalo said. “Had some good times, had some bad times. Quick one-year run, but it’s something I’ll always remember.”
- Brian Lewis of The New York Post spoke to NBA scouts about the Nets‘ offer sheet for Donatas Motiejunas, and the general consensus was that it makes sense for Brooklyn to try to land a player like Motiejunas. “What’s to lose? It’s a good move. I don’t see a negative,” said veteran scout Scott McGuire. “They have to shake the bushes.”
- While Caris LeVert has been cleared to make his debut for the Nets, it’s not clear how much playing time the 2016 first-rounder will actually receive right away, Lewis writes in a separate piece for The Post.
- With their schedule “about to crank into overdrive,” the Celtics continue to be a bit of a mystery, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com.