Marshall has motivation

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

There's a good chance Raptors forward Donyell Marshall will move after the season is over.

To a bigger house.

With a new Bentley in the garage, and a Benz or three.

There also is a good chance he'll become the subject of increasing trade rumours as the season unfolds -- but not because he wants out of Toronto.

Marshall, 31, is heading into the final year of a contract that will pay him $4.5 US million this season. Given the solid numbers he put up last year, and the fact he is still only 31, the Reading, Pa., native no doubt will be asking for considerably more than that once his deal expires.

But the laid-back Marshall insisted yesterday greed will not be the motivating factor in his desire for a career year this season. In fact, the former Connecticut star said he wouldn't mind it a bit if he sacrificed some numbers in order for the Raptors to win more games than last season (33).

Marshall believes that playing on a winning team is just as important as good individual numbers for a player heading into free agency.

Last year, in 66 games, Marshall averaged 16.2 points, 10.7 rebounds and 39.1 minutes, leading the team in rebounding, blocks and three-pointers, and was the only player in the NBA to rank in the top 25 in boards, blocks and three-point field goal percentage.

"But you know what? People can sit back and say, 'anybody can do that on a losing team,'" Marshall said, following a long team practice yesterday at the Air Canada Centre. "That's what helped me out in Utah. I put up good numbers on a winning team. We went to the playoffs and won 50 games.

"If we can get to the playoffs this season, even if my numbers are off a little bit, I think it's going to help me out more than anything else (negotiating a new contract)," he said.

There are two iron-clad truths in the NBA when a star player is in the final year of his contract.

One, he is going to be asked about it a lot by the media during the season. And two, he will be the subject of trade rumours, particularly if the team is struggling.

But Marshall is prepared for both scenarios, even the chance of being traded.

"Teams want cap space and things like that and teams (heading to the playoffs) are out there looking for a big man who can shoot so I know there's always the possibility," he said. "If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I'm going to come out and play hard everyday."

Marshall said he would prefer to remain in Toronto for the entire season and is excited about the uptempo style of play coach Sam Mitchell is implementing.

"I think it's going to help me out a lot because I'll be playing (power forward), and the other big men are going to have to chase me," Marshall said. "We also have set plays as well, so it's going to be good. It's going to benefit me ... I'll be able to offensive rebound more."


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