10/2/12

DeMar DeRozan Extension Might Be A Risk Worth Taking

I am not sure if there is a right answer in terms of DeMar DeRozan’s contract situation. It ultimately comes down to do you believe in DeMar or not? If you don’t the talk of extending him likely sends shivers up your spine. If you do believe in him you think this has to get done.

I suggest in my latest article for The Bleacher Report the Raptors should get this done and take the gamble as one of six things the Raptors should do in Training Camp and the preseason.  Why do I feel this way?

I have always been a believer in DeRozan and his talent combined with his work ethic. That said, it is not just the fact that I like DeRozan, I think this is a smart idea if you can get it done.

This past off-season the amount of money some restricted free agents got was totally insane. Do you want to let one crazy team set the price for DeRozan this off-season? Isn’t it smarter to get him signed at a number you can live with and move forward? It allows DeRozan to focus on improving and not answer questions about his future. He feels secure that he is part of this moving forward. If Raptors want to give Terrence Ross some chances to play it is not taken by DeRozan as a sign he is not wanted or being replaced.

If you remember back to when the Raptors extended Andrea Bargnani a lot of people were very upset about that contract. I was one of them. No one is right about everything. If you look at that contract today, I would class it as fairly reasonable, and definitely a contract you still could move if you wanted too.

Hopes are high this was a big summer for DeMar. He had a great experience with Team USA as part of the select program. He spoke on this topic yesterday at Media Day. “I think it was the best experience for me this summer. Going seven days of the week, everyday, going against Kobe, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony in every situation you could think of. Seeing how they approach every aspect of the game definitely showed me a lot,” DeRozan said.

He also took the chance to soak up knowledge from all of those great players and he thinks his next step is to become an All-Star in this league.

This is a guy that I feel comfortable in saying has higher expectations for himself than even his biggest supporters. In his rookie training camp, in our first conversation we had,  he talked about wanting to be not just good but great. In three seasons in the NBA, I think he has learned just how hard being great is. The experience with Team USA in the summer likely drove home that point to DeRozan.

He also has had Dwane Casey’s help and guidance throughout the off-season this year something that was lacking last season as a result of the lockout. Now with people to push him in Terrence Ross and Landry Fields this should help as well. DeRozan is excited about the new up tempo style of offense the Raptors want to play. He should be, as it should suit his game quit nicely.

This is one of those “fork in the road moments” for the Toronto Raptors. If they fail to get an extension worked out they run the risk of DeRozan having a break out season and having to pay him accordingly. They also lose an element of control over his situation.

On the other hand if they extend him and things do not go as well, people will point to it as the Raptors making a terrible decision and throwing away much valued cap space. It really is a tough decision and you have to make a gut decision one way or the other. If you don’t extend him his future with the Raptors becomes very cloudy going forward.

DeRozan hopes that his work ethic and play will speak for itself and will let his agent and Bryan Colangelo figure out all of this contract stuff.

Knowing this young man personally on a small level, I would take the gamble and roll the dice and lock him up. The Raptors have had so many issues keeping guys here in their history. Here is a young man that has talent, loves the city and works hard. I think that is a good gamble to take and would be willing to make it as long as the dollar amount was not something outrageous.

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