I expressed my concern yesterday when the possibility of the Raptors and DeRozan coming to an extension agreement before the midnight deadline was only a report about progress being made in the talks, but in all honesty, I wasn’t that worried about it.

The way I saw it, if the Raptors locked up DeRozan last night, while all he had on his NBA resume were three so-so seasons where his offensive efficiency decreased and where he failed to show that he can be anything other than an inefficient scorer, surely they’d be locking him into a cheaper than expected extension, maybe even a bargain!

Think again. Four years, a reported $38 million guaranteed, with bonuses that can take the perplexing contract north of $40 million. Inexcusable.

While the heat’s grown around Bryan Colangelo over the last few years, I’ve remained relatively supportive. There were obvious experiments gone wrong (namely Jermaine O’Neal and Hedo Turkoglu) during the latter part of the Chris Bosh Era, but Colangelo (with Ed Stefanski beside him as a safeguard) seemed to have really figured things out over the last year or so.

Landing Steve Nash might have been a step back for the rebuild, but it still made sense for a lot of reasons. In the end, Toronto landed a point guard to move forward with to add to a potential franchise centre and a defence-first coach whose hire alone gave me reason to believe that Colangelo understood what was necessary to win in the NBA. I always knew the eventual final piece of landing a superstar would be incredibly difficult, but for now, it was hard to find much fault in Colangelo’s plan for the future.

And then yesterday happened.

I’ve heard a bunch of excuses from a bunch of fellow Raptors fans – friends, family members, coworkers, etc. – and none of them add up. I’ve heard about how hard of a worker DeRozan is, how committed he is to getting better, how young he still is and how the organization was anticipating DeMar might get an even bigger offer from another team as a restricted free agent in the summer, forcing the Raptors into a tough decision.

Well here’s the problem, effort and a desire to improve don’t win many games in the NBA. Sure, those are two traits you’d like your star players and others to have of course, but if you’re gambling on work ethic instead of talent and tangible results, you’re in trouble.

Yes, DeRozan is still a young player at 23, but in the world of pro sports, especially the NBA, he’s not thaaat young. I’m sure there are plenty of examples of raw players who blossomed later in their careers, but unlike with bigs, you can usually tell with wing players within their first few years as pros. And the ones that do develop slower still show some sort of consistent competency in more than one facet of the game.

Through three seasons, DeMar DeRozan is an exciting athlete that can score with a lot of touches, but hasn’t been able to score efficiently. I’m still encouraged by his developing post game, and as Oliver wrote yesterday before word of the extension broke, DeRozan’s time in the post can lead him down a path to becoming a more efficient offensive player. Unfortunately, it won’t change the fact that he’s a one dimensional player at that.

At 23, DeMar still can’t defend despite his athleticism and he can’t pass, or he just chooses not to. His rebounding is inconsistent at best and his jump shot doesn’t exactly scream “shooting” guard. For me to even be convinced DeRozan deserved a place in this franchise going forward, I wanted him to prove he could become a more efficient scorer and at least become average in other facets of the game in his fourth season.

Three mediocre seasons and an encouraging training camp/pre-season were apparently all the organization needed to not only be sold on the fact that DeRozan deserved a core role in the future, but that he was also on the verge of becoming a worthy $10 million per year player.

And that brings us to the last excuse for the contract, that Colangelo and co. probably thought another team would make him a $40+ million offer in free agency. My response? Good riddance!

If the current market in the Association deems that a player of DeRozan’s ability should earn nearly eight figures per year, then let another general manager pay him that money next summer. I’d rather overspend and spend even more than $38 million over four years on a player who can at least contribute to a winning core in the future as the second or third best player on said future team than overspend on a guy whose most positive attributes through three professional seasons are his work ethic and athleticism.

Furthermore, just because someone else is willing to overpay a certain player, it doesn’t mean that he’s necessarily worth it or even worth locking up at all. The question to ask isn’t “would another team give DeMar DeRozan $38 million over four years?” but rather “would a team serious about building a championship core for the future give DeRozan that money?” and I think we all know the answer to that question.

Under normal circumstances, I would have looked at last night’s heartbreaking loss as frustrating, but still a glimmer of hope of how good this team can be this season and more importantly, in the future. Instead, my frustration over the near buzzer beating loss, the latest in a string of those at home over the years, was compounded by my concern and frustration over the fact that DeRozan’s new lucrative contract will hinder this team’s chances of getting that much better over the next couple of years.

The Raptors should have had roughly $10 million in cap space next summer, with an amnesty option that could have taken that number to $15 million or more. Looking beyond even next summer, the team could have extended Lowry in the future with a sizable contract and still would have had plenty of breathing room going forward. With DeRozan’s contract soon to be on the books, the Raps might have little, if any, cap space next summer and might be capped out going forward once they extend Lowry, whose agent should be asking for max money with DeRozan at nearly $10 million (I’m only half kidding).

Lastly, to the abundance of fans and DeRozan supporters who will read this and vow to me that I’ll regret what I’ve written and that DeRozan will make me look foolish for writing it, here’s a newsflash for you: I hope you’re right. I hope I’m wrong. I yearn for Raptors success as much as anyone reading this, if not more. I like DeMar, I really do buy into his desire to make something of himself, I find his commitment to the city a breath of fresh air, and for the thousandth time, I find him incredibly easy to root for overall. Unfortunately, none of that means he was worth the money right now.

DeRozan isn’t going to be the only overpaid player in the NBA over the next four years and he certainly won’t be the last one to benefit from a ludicrous deal. In addition, Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors won’t be the last ones to sign a questionable player to such a contract, and at the end of the day, between the amnesty clause, trades and whatever else is out there, the Raptors’ future cap situation probably isn’t as dire as I think it is or understand it to be.

But this is a management team and franchise that looked to have finally figured out the big picture, the end goal and more importantly, how to get there, and a fanbase that had finally started believing we could see some light at the end of this dark, lonely tunnel. This unnecessary extension seems to be a step back for both in their quest to get to those destinations.

Comments (55)

  1. If DeRozan plays about the same level this year as last, does Colangelo really think we could not sign an equivalent FA for less than $10 million? I like DD, but he is totally and completely replaceable.

  2. It’s almost like the Bargnani extension where Bargnani basically had one good half season in his first three years in the league yet Colangelo was falling over himself to lock him up anyway.

    It seems like Colangelo had his mind made up beforehand in both cases and didn’t let DeRozan’s on court play really impact that decision in any way just like he didn’t let Bargnani’s struggles impact that particular extension.

    It is laughable that DeRozan is making similar money to guys like Holiday, Gibson and Curry.

  3. I think if they were going to sign DeRozan to an extension immediately, it should have been 4 years and around 24M, which is 6M per year. More than fair for a player of his calibre. I didn’t have a problem with an extension, but they overpaid almost 2x his worth.

    I’m with the same opinion as you, if another GM wanted to pay him 10M for 4 years, then let them. There was no reason to use up all that space on DeMar.

    This has all left me wondering two things. One, what this all means for Terrence Ross. Because it looks almost as if our 8th pick was just thrown away. Second, as much as I like Lowry, why would he want to sign with this team long term after next season knowing who this team’s being built around. The Raptors will either have to overpay him (close to max contract) or he will simply walk away after next year.

    • The Lowry subplot coming off this extension is the most interesting. How can you scoff at him asking for the max especially when you consider how valuable he’s going to be to this team?

  4. It’s so bad. Reading the quotes it’s almost as if we had the perspective that Demar was going to get 10 million a year offer sheet from someone, so we are only paying what we unfortunately would’ve had to anyways. First off, I’d really like to see Demar get paid that much from a team if he keeps up his 2011-2012 stats before just assuming that he will, contracts for players like Lou Williams, Nick Young, OJ Mayo, etc. being not close to Demar’s indicates he’d have been far below it. Secondly, there’s another option to being bullied into overpaying Demar to retain him as an asset – Why not play half a year without an extension and then trade him? Certainly this would be a slick move. We’d hypothetically get a 1st round pick to replace the one we traded, the Ross pick would’ve looked smart as he’d be a long term SG replacement for Demar, and we’d get out of paying a stupid contract/would have tons of capspace this summer.

    But Demar is BC’s boy… we hyped him up as our future star because he jumps high. No way BC could be wrong about Demar’s potential…

  5. The fact that BC has any supporters left is just amazing. He’s a complete clown GM, one of the worst in the league. We haven’t been in the playoffs since the Bush presidency despite having Bosh, a #1 pick, Villaneuva, Calderon and total capspace as assets just 2 years before that final appearance in 08. He used a #1 pick on Bargnani who hasn’t been close to making an all-star team, made the worst trade in franchise history (the Jermaine O’Neal disaster), lost a superstar for no trade value even though it was clear he wanted out (Bosh), and has given massive contracts to average players over and over and over. He’s not just mediocre, he’s all out fucking terrible.

    • Who would have you drafted instead of Bargs. Just curious. I don’t like the Demar signing but to say that every move BC has made has failed. He took some risks that didnt work out and some that did.

      • Brandon Roy, Rajon Rondo, and Paul Millsap were all players that were productive in college that stat experts push to get drafted.

        From Empty The Bench
        Finding Value (Over and Under) in the 2009 NBA Draft
        June 22, 2009

        “B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State
        Likely Draft Position: 14-20
        Why He’ll Be Worse: If you read the book Moneyball about Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, you’ll recognize Mullens as the type of player the A’s avoided at all costs and other teams tripped over themselves to sign. What he brings to the table physically is to die for: 7-0, 260 pounds, the mobility and quickness of a small forward, and he flies up the court. If you’re sitting in the stands watching him warm up for the other team, you’d crap your pants.

        But, then, there’s the production issue. He can finish off a catch in transition or for an alley-oop every once in a while, but his back-to-the-basket abilities are labored at best. Mullens has trouble backing his man down or hitting shots he has to create. It only gets worse on defense where his nickname could be “The Wilting Sieve”.”

        Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan have been in this same category of overhyped athletes that look the part of basketball players. Conventional wisdom bills them for their upside/potential while smart talent evaluators and front offices avoid them at all costs and look to target fundamentally sound players that have positive impacts on their teams, even if they are undervalued by everyone else. Behind the Basket, The NBA Geek, and Wages of Wins are all good websites that give deep insight in finding legitimate talent.

        Now I’ll admit that I didn’t know about either player or their skill set until after they got drafted or what to look for in players like I do now, but if I did, I would have been against drafting them from the start.

      • I have a question for everyone: Were you excited when Rob Babcock was gone? And would you have wanted him gone if you knew that his replacement was all hype and aesthetics and no intelligence?

  6. I’ve defended BC for a long time. Can’t defend this. What a terrible way to start the season, and a kick in the teeth to Raptors fans.

    • Totally agree,Tyrone.

      If this was happened in another country, I’d say the GM is going to pocket a part of Demar’s money.

      • And, to add to all that, how the drafting of Ross and the coming of Fields go fit in the picture right now?!?

  7. The part about the cap situation the Raptor’s find themselves in is the hardest part to swallow. If Lowry keeps playing at this level he will most definitely demand the max if not close. What happens then?

    I’m so confused at why this extension makes any sense. I’m no expert judge of talent of course, but just from how he’s “developed” over the past 3 years tells you that even if Derozan “explodes” this year the most he’ll be worth is 10 million anyway. At the end of the day that’s what it’s about. Realistically, will Derozan EVER be a max player? NOPE, that’s obvious. Instead, at best, he’ll fall a bit below…which is the 10 million range anyway. Why not just wait and see??

    I’m more and more convinced that the organization just cares about making the playoffs and that’s it. With this group, yes, at some point we might actually make the playoffs in the next 4-years but it’ll be a quick exit. That’s the ceiling at this point, and it seems the organization’s happy enough with that.

    • Yep, MLSE is known to have no interest in winning championships. Just earning profits. This extension effectively locks the core of this team into place with very little flexibility to add or improve. Just a complete and utter abysmal decision. BC should have been fired this morning and derozan should not have been allowed to sign it.

  8. Is it possible that players don’t want to play in tdot? Maybe BC knows something we don’t; therefore, justifying the contract. I really can’t see any other reason for it…

    • Thats possible and I think its becoming more and more of a issue behind the scenes. Raptors need to to better in terms of educating ignorant american players about playing here.

    • People want to play for a winning team. You think there’s anything magical about Oklahoma City or San Antonio?

  9. Demar when he first came to toronto, was a small glimmer of hope on a team that needed it more then anybody and was too hyped because the Raptors were hurting. And no one wants to give up on him because hes athletic and can jump and this somehow justifies 10 mil a year? BC brought in some great players this offseason and now everytime he has to renew a contract or try to sign FAs he will hear ” Well DD got 10 mill, i deserve more” Name something other then jumping DD does better then most players…..

  10. Kris Humphries 2 Years $20 Million. Blog Closed. What You Got Next! #GoRaps

    • He put up good numbers the last couple of years. If anything, DD’s contract makes him underpaid.

      • Very Reasonable. Look at contracts from yesterday. Curry 4year $44 Mill. Holliday 4 Year 46$ mill. DD falls right in the middle of them for stats but lower contract. Good deal and will expect him to play far more games then Curry,

      • From “A Familiar Story Plays Out in Los Angeles”

        “In these two stories, we’re seeing the classic story play out. It’s a story we repeat on the Wages of Wins a lot:

        Decision makers consistently undervalue efficient scoring and net possessions (i.e. rebounding and “not turning the ball over”)
        Decision makers overvalue scoring totals
        Decision makers overvalue draft picks
        Decision makers tend to ignore the short supply of tall people (or perhaps they just wish it didn’t exist, so they pretend it’s not a problem)”

    • You can’t compare a two-year contract to a four-year contract. If DeRozan’s was a two-year deal, I’d bet very few would be complaining.

  11. DD is gonna step up and improve his game this year, not every wing player develops at the same time, I’m not saying he wasn’t overpaid but let’s give him a year to prove himself.

  12. Great read Joseph! You vented everything I was thinking since hearing about the extension. Combine this with Fields and Bargs contract and we have almost 30 mil tied up a season in 3 players who dont deserve a combined 15 mil a season. Also, we have no 1st round pick this year unless a miracle occurs. Looking pretty bleak for the next few years. Crazy how all optimism was dashed by this stupid signing.

  13. What is this “progress” crap I keep hearing about?

    A player in a Derozan mold pretty much shows you some polish straight out of college and then gets close to his full potential within his rookie contract. He’s not going to magically break out after 4-5 years in the league.

    Nice guy. Money terribly spent.

  14. WOW keep the hate to urself skip bayless jr…. its ppl lik u that make our stars wanna sign elsewhere…
    thescore has gone sooooo downhill since tim and sid left.. not liking where the network is going at all havin hate articles lik this

  15. BC makes me sick. For years, he was talking about how much “flexibility” he will have this past summer and next. So what does he do? Blows it on landry fields and demar derozan. Two replacement level players. Now he says “we wont have much flexibility this summer”. Geez, I wonder why you fucktard. I also laughed when he said he has enormous trade deadline flexibility. When has he ever done something substantial at the trade deadline? He just so full of shit. The media in this town really needs to lay into him. Im sick of reading and hearing cowards like doug smith, eric smith paul jones wax poetic about how this team is on the upswing and every move BC makes is justified. Ive never been so fed up with BC as I am now. Just put him out of his misery already.

  16. there is no way demar deserves 10 mill a season..he is an inconsistent scorer , doesnt play d, despite his athleticism and cant hit jumpers consistently….throwing down a monster dunk every couple of games does not warrant a million dollar contract. now u definitely have to give lowry a max deal..if he even wants to stay

  17. Interesting fact. Marcus Thornton, Wesley Matthews, Courtney Lee, Nick Young and Arron Afflalo all signed contracts in the last year and a half, and make an average of $6.76 million over the rest of the contract (from $6 million to $8.1 million). Is DeROzan really better than all of them?

    I go into more detail here…

    • Yes he is…he is better then those players. Ibaka gets 12 million, Kevin Martin gets 12 mil, Ben Gordon 12 mil, R Stucky 8.5 mil, J. Calderon 10.5 mil, Devin Harris 10 mil.
      Lets compare DD’s last two years to K-Marts career numbers – K. Martin: 18.4 PPG/2.1 A/3.5 Rebs….DD averaged past two years: 17 PPG/ 1.9 A/3.7 Rebs. These numbers are very similar…K-Mart being 29 and DD being 23.They both can’t play defense, but DD’s ceiling is higher with more potential in the future and the now. So for 9 mil compared to those others, I don’t see whats wrong with it! Also, with the fact there are no SG’s out there after the big 4 (Kobe/JJ/Wade,Harden), I’m still not seeing how its a bad deal considering.

  18. Call me Crazy, I like this contract. Know need to rip on a guy who gets us 17ppg.4 yr 38 is normal- get your heads out of the NHL gutter NBA players get paid this frequently. His 3pt game needs to improve but I really like this guy. 23 yrs old paid on the lower end of the extensions. Demar show the negative shits who you are, I totally believe in you.

    • I clearly meant no need instead of know need

    • Just looking at his PPG without looking at anything that goes into it is some pretty atrocious analysis. He can’t shoot, he doesn’t pass, he doesn’t rebound, his defence is mediocre, he hasn’t improved much if at all from year one through year three, and now we’re paying him HOW MUCH? Would DeRozan start for more than 3-4 other teams in the entire league?

    • Paying 10M per season for one dimensional players is NOT normal.

      • Everyone is saying that DeMar can’t shoot. He goes out every night and works, and off the court he works really hard too. His defense isn’t spectacular, He does have a mid range game, can jump out of the gym and he is only 23yrs old. He has Casey, his defense will come, as will the confidence.

        • You can’t justify a contract based on work ethic alone. There are a ton of other players with the same, or maybe better work ethic than DeMar who make much less.

          You could probably go find some D-League players with the same work ethic who would be way more productive in 30MPG.

        • I don’t understand the arguments of “he works relaly hard” and “he loves the city”. None of that has translated into the type of on court results to justify $10 mil/year.

          There was no reason for this extension. Even if DeMar improves substantially, i doubt it would be to an all-star level or even to the level of impact that guys like holiday, curry or lawson (admitedly different positions) have on their temas and those guys are in the $11-$12 mil range. How much would DeMar really cost this summer? Such a dumb move by Colangelo.

          • 9 million is not an all-star type of pay – @ 9 mil, the club doesn’t expect him to be an all-star, it would be a bonus if he was…see Ibaka @ 12 million a known all-star, non starter getting 3 million more a season.

          • opps- I meant “a non all-star” when speaking about Ibaka

        • There are lots of players who work hard but they’re not all deserving of insane contracts like this.


  20. Here’s another theory why players might not want to play in Toronto – because of its ignorant, self-loathing fanbase.

    Reading the comments here made me physically ill. I’m embarrassed to call myself a Raps fan right now.

    • Oh, go grab some pom-poms. We’re supposed to like every move the GM makes just because? You think the fanbases in other cities are less harsh? Tell that to Celtics fans or Blazers fans or Pacers fans or Knicks fans!

      How about some reasons why this contract was a good idea? Notice you didn’t have any of those in your witty response.

    • That’s just ridiculous. You think Toronto fans are bad? You should check out some of the bigger market teams like LA or NY.

    • It is pretty sad the way people like to jump on board when things dont look good. When something positive happens in Raptor land their might be 1 or 2 comments but something like this I think its over 20 comments now. GO RAPS

    • All NBA fans will act like this when they don’t like a move. The media will burn you if they don’t like a move.

      I’m pretty sure NBA players will get enough hate from different sources no matter what team they play on. It’s part of playing in the NBA.

      I just hope the negative perception of his contract helps motivate Derozan to somehow prove us all wrong. I don’t know how, since he’s apparently already trying as hard as he can to improve, but maybe this will somehow give him the extra fire to try and make us all look stupid.

    • That’s basically nonsense. You have people in this thread saying they don’t like the deal based on advanced stats and relevant player comparisons. Are they emotional? Yes, but “ignorant” is clearly untrue, and “self loathing” is fantasy.

  21. I’ve read a lot of stupid comments here and it’s getting to be too much..

    Let’s look back at what’s actually gone on in BC’s time here:

    Bargnani was picked #1 in a year where the top 2 prospects were Bargnani and Aldridge. Now everyone would probably love to say how they should’ve drafted Aldridge, ignoring the fact that he plays the same game as Bosh and is nearly the exact same size. (it’s funny how we all forget about how “great” Bosh played next to a similarly skilled big man in JO for half a year). Until Brandon Roy retired a year ago, everyone else claimed BC screwed up by not taking him (there was a reason no one wanted to draft him in the top 5…it may even have to do with why he retired a year ago). Rudy Gay is the other guy that comes up, except for the fact that he was coming out after 2 years in college and much like how people rip on DD, he hadn’t improved all that much in that time despite all the potential he had shown going into UConn.

    He traded Charlie V for TJ ford (who was an above-average PG in his time here), and if you haven’t been following charlie, he traded him at his highest value before his stock came crashing down, which is also what he did with TJ.

    He signed Hedo, which everyone around points out as the worst move ever made (except for the people who were actually reporting it at the time who said the raps just signed the #1 free agent that offseason). It didn’t work out (see: Elton Brand, Baron Davis, Gilbert Arenas, Grant Hill, Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire, Larry Hughes, Rashard Lewis, Eddy Curry). Big freaking deal. He traded him for a good, productive player with a good contract after 1 year. Unlike every team that signed those players above, he didn’t stick to the guy for years and he didn’t lose draft picks trying to get rid of him.

    He didn’t screw up by not trading Bosh at the deadline 2 years ago. It wasn’t obvious he was leaving and anyone who thinks we should’ve traded him wasn’t actually watching the raptors play basketball that season. At the trade deadline during Bosh’s last year, the raps were very securely in the 5th seed in the East, behind CLE, ORL, BOS, and ATL. We were closer to the 4th seed than the 6th seed and there was a legitimate chance of reaching the playoffs and maybe even advancing a round. Bosh was having his best season ever and Lebron was the MVP. It sure as hell didn’t look like Lebron was leaving. What happened? Bosh sprained his ankle. Then broke his face. The season went to hell AFTER the deadline.

    DD is not being paid what he’s worth right now. But this is how contracts are paid. J-rich got $70M from golden state 8 years after averaging 16PPG in his first 3 years. Batum and his magnificent 10 ppg career avg just got him nearly $50M. Nobody pays you what you’re worth. If DD lives up to the contract, we got a great player at a good price. If he doesn’t, there will be plenty of teams willing to take on an athletic SG who has potential and a manageable contract. Not 1 player signs with a team at a discount. If DD ever lives up to everyone’s expectations, he wouldn’t sign for a dime less than what another team is willing to pay him (regardless of how much YOU might pay him), and to think no one would pay him $10M/yr means you haven’t been watching the last several years of Charlie V, David Lee, Joe Johnson signings. If he’s bad, he’s a piece we can trade.

    Could we let him go for nothing? Fine. But i’m sure denver’s not regretting over paying afflalo and harrington right now…

    • Its so funny how so many people wanted Wilson Chandler last year who was drafted two years before DD @ the 23rd spot. We would have had to give up players then try to sign him, still majority of Raps fans wanted it. Chandler ended up signing a 5 year 37 mil contract (7.5 mil per year). Chandlers career numbers: 13.8 PPG/1.8 A/5.8 Rebs. And, there FG% and 3PS% is similar, so if this player is worth 7.5 mil per year , then DD is worth 1.5 million more with one less year…two years younger and drafted 14 spots higher and it only cost us 1.5 million and 1 less year of contract restraint. I like it! DD’s contract is moveable if need be as well.

      • I like how so many people are rationalizing this awful contract by comparing it to other awful contracts.

        BC can only hope that you guys make up the majority of the fanbase that will sugar-coat every move he makes as he continues to drive this franchise into the ground.

  22. Why yall so worried, let the young man play ball and do his thing. You guys arnt GM’s and sound like a bunch of girls.. Sheeeeet

  23. They locked up a very athletic wing-man who can complement the playing style of Lowry and who can actually play more of a team game. The pressure is on DD to live up to and perform to the level of the contract he received. The team has a lot of assets right now and BC has proven he can pull of some crazy trades (as mentioned above) if they need to be done.

    I like what Casey had to say about it.

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