Guard DeMar DeRozan, who will become a free agent for the first time in his career, hopes to stay with the Toronto Raptors.
One day after the Raptors were eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers, DeRozan was asked if he can find a better situation than Toronto
"I don't think so," DeRozan said Saturday, via ESPN.com. "My mindset has always been Toronto. I've always preached it. I was passionate about it when we were losing, when we were terrible. I said I was going to stick through this whole thing, and I want to be that guy who brings this organization to where it is now. I definitely don't want to switch that up after we win."
The 6-foot-7, 220-pound DeRozan, who will become an unrestricted free agent July 1, averaged 23.5 points during the regular season and 20.9 during the postseason.
The Raptors, appearing in the conference finals for the first time in franchise history, were eliminated by the Cavaliers 113-87 in Game 6 on Friday night. DeRozan finished with 20 points.
The two-time All-Star has spent his entire seven-year career with the Raptors.
DeRozan, 26, is expected to get offers from other teams, including his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, who could offer him a maximum contract starting at $25 million annually.
According to ESPN, collective bargaining rules will allow the Raptors to offer DeRozan up to five years at around $145 million while other teams will be able to offer him up to four years at around $107 million.
"I grew up in L.A. That's my home. There's not a part of L.A. I haven't seen," said DeRozan, who attended Compton High School and USC before being selected No. 9 overall by Toronto in the 2009 NBA draft. "I don't get caught up into it. I let whoever comes up with that say what they want to say. The only thing appealing to me is the things I've done in this organization and the things that can be done here. And that's always been my mindset since I've been here.
"I've been saying it for a long time. I haven't changed, not one bit. I took pride in putting that Raptors jersey on when people counted us out or when people said, 'Why go to Toronto? Why this, why that, why this, why that?' You hear it so much -- that gave me the motivation to want to prove people wrong or prove critics wrong -- why this organization can't be a winning organization. You know what I mean? I took pride in that a long time ago. To see how far (we've come), that's what it's all about."