Rather than answer whether or not DeMar DeRozan will come back to Toronto, let’s ask ourselves this: should the Raptors even want DeRozan back?
If he says “I’m coming back, give me the max,” they’ll have to do it. Toronto just came within two wins of the Finals. It’s the same logic that got Dwayne Casey an extension even though you just know Masai Ujiri is itching to fire him and will at the first sign of trouble next season. But does nearly winning a weak conference make this Toronto team viable?
They got extraordinarily lucky in these playoffs. Had Frank Vogel not used all-bench lineups at key points in Games 5 and 7 of their first round series with Indiana, the Raptors would likely have lost there for the third straight season. Had Miami stayed healthy, they would have lost in the second round.
Toronto’s roster is highly flawed. The offense is based far too much on isolations, the defense is based mostly on higher regular season effort that other teams don’t bother giving. They outperform their regular season expectations every year and then get far worse in the playoffs.
DeRozan doesn’t get as many calls, DeRozan’s defense slips, DeRozan is a big part of Toronto’s playoff failings. All things considered, the Raptors would probably be better off letting him go, trading Kyle Lowry and starting things over. They have plenty of draft picks and young players to kickstart a rebuild.
But again, they can’t do that. They have to bring the gang back for another shot, and this time next year we’ll be asking ourselves if Toronto can dump DeMar’s contract. If anything, their best bet is probably just hoping the Lakers do the wrong thing and convince him to come because hey, he’s an All Star and the Lakers should sign All Stars!
Ujiri would be thrilled if Mitch Kupchack decided to go that route, but at this point it seems unlikely. He’s going to give DeMar the max and regret it within six months.
Likely Contract: Five Years, Max