Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri has made re-signing All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan his top priority heading into the offseason, he said at a news conference Monday.
“Our No. 1 goal is to bring DeMar back here,” Ujiri said via ESPN. “We feel great that he wants to come back to our organization. I spoke to him [Sunday], and his eyes were still red. You could tell. He said he felt empty the next day, which was telling.
“Speaking to him and Kyle [Lowry], they almost felt like we had a game to play still, and that game is not there. There’s that hunger, and you like that, and then now, it’s my part to figure it out.”
The day after the Raptors were eliminated from the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, DeRozan said that he plans to be back with the team next season.
“My mindset has always been Toronto,” DeRozan said during exit interviews. “I’ve always preached it. I was passionate about it when we were losing. When we were terrible I’d say ‘I’m going to stick through this whole thing and I want to be that guy who brings the organization to where it is now.’ I definitely don’t want to switch up after we win.”
DeRozan averaged 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists on his way to being named to his second All-Star game. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Center Bismack Biyombo is also expected to decline his player option and become a free agent this offseason.