Next deal is no big deal

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

Donyell Marshall wasn't about to start making noises about a new contract in the wake of his record-setting three-point performance.

"That's something you think about over the summer," the Raptors forward said yesterday, the day after he tied an NBA record with 12 three-pointers in a 128-110 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

"Right now, it's just time to go out here and play basketball, try to help save this season and help try to make the playoffs. A lot of people say it's a far cry, but we've got to stay positive ... Free agency, you can't do nothing about it until the summer, so why worry about it now?

Why, indeed? The 6-foot-9 Marshall, who will make $5.329 million US this season, would be an attractive commodity for a good team in need of a complimentary player.

MAKES LITTLE SENSE

And while the 31-year-old Marshall wouldn't close the door on returning to Toronto next season, that probably makes little sense for both parties at this stage of his career. Marshall likely will join his sixth NBA team next season.

"I guess he assumes, as probably I assume, it probably was a foregone conclusion all season that it may be his last one here," Raptors guard Jalen Rose said.

For his part, Raptors general manager Rob Babcock said he would like to re-sign Marshall.

"We'd love to have Donyell back," Babcock said. "He's been a great player for our basketball team and I think he's shown great leadership. He's a class individual."

Of course, all this speculation really means nothing, seeing as the NBA's collective bargaining agreement expires after this season. Whether it will be a good time to be a free agent is up in the air.

Marshall, who usually comes off the bench quickly to replace foul-prone rookie centre Rafael Araujo, hasn't been thrilled with his inconsistent minutes this season. But Raptors coach Sam Mitchell doesn't plan to make any changes to his starting lineup, despite Marshall's recent good play.

"I think Donyell is doing well in the role we have him doing," Mitchell said.

"I think he's happy with it. He's never complained about not starting and he understands it's better for him a lot of times (because) by the time he comes into the game, their guy is worn down a little bit or he is playing against second-(tier) guys."

No matter how he is used, Marshall simply will play as well as he can for the final 19 games of the season.

"I just come out here to play a game of basketball, whatever the situation may be," Marshall said.

"If I start, if I come off the bench I've just got to try to make the best of when I'm out there. I haven't complained all year. My job, whenever I'm in the game, is just to go out there and play hard and do whatever I have to do to help this team win."

The Raptors return to action tomorrow night in Boston against the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics.


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