TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan had hinted just hours after the Toronto Raptors‘ best season in franchise history had come to an emotional end that he wasn’t going anywhere.
The all-star shooting guard stayed true to his word.
DeRozan turned the biggest season of his career into a very big contract, agreeing to a five-year deal just hours after free agency opened, a source told The Canadian Press.
The deal is reportedly worth US$139 million.
Teammate Kyle Lowry took to Instagram to post his congratulations, over the hashtags " dinnerisneveronmeagain," "Ialreadychargedallmybillstoyourcard," and "EARNEDNOTGIVEN."
DeRozan can’t officially sign until July 7.
Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri had said re-signing the 26 year old was his top priority, and the two sides took little time coming to an agreement barely two hours after the July 1 free agency window opened.
DeRozan averaged a career-best 23.5 points this past season, and combined with Lowry for one the top backcourts in the NBA. DeRozan and Lowry led the Raptors to their first appearance in the Eastern Conference finals and within two wins of the NBA finals.
The morning after their thrilling playoff ride ended, DeRozan told reporters: "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?"’
"My mindset has always been Toronto. I was passionate about it when we was losing. When we was terrible, I said I’m 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 up after we win."
USA Today Sports first reported that DeRozan and the Raptors had reached a deal.
Raptors centre Jonas Valanaciunas posted his congratulations on Twitter, writing: "Canada has two reasons to celebrate today. Happy Canada Day! And congrats on resigning â†•DeMar–DeRozan ! WeTheNorth."
DeRozan stuck it out through seven roller-coaster seasons in Toronto, and recently said he could see himself playing his entire career for just one franchise, like his hero Kobe Bryant.
There was some speculation the Compton, Calif., native would look elsewhere, including his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, but DeRozan all but spiked those rumours after the Raptors were eliminated in six games by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"We’re looking forward to it," DeRozan said when asked about the Raptors’ future.
The popular Raptor is coming off a thrilling season that saw him shine in the playoffs despite a badly injured thumb. He scored 28-plus points in six post-season games. He also teamed up with Lowry in the NBA all-star game in Toronto, and the two will be teammates on the U.S. Olympic team next month in Rio.
Ujiri and the Raptors now turn their attention to either re-signing Bismack Biyombo, or finding a suitable replacement for the rim protection Biyombo gave them.