See ya later, Shawn

Shawn Marion had a big laugh with the media on Thursday, saying they don't look as good as him....

Shawn Marion had a big laugh with the media on Thursday, saying they don't look as good as him. (Sun Media/Jack Boland)

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

Shawn Marion is sticking around for an extra four or five days, but it very likely could amount to nothing more than an extended farewell.

Marion plans to visit Canadian vacation hotspots such as Niagara Falls -- we're assuming he's sticking to the Canadian side but it's never safe to assume anything where Marion is concerned -- and Montreal over the next few days.

"I heard Montreal is crazy up there," Marion said, "so I'm going up there too. You can follow me on tour."

The things a guy can do when he doesn't have the playoffs to worry about.

Marion was one in a succession of Raptors who were subjected to year-end interviews by the local media yesterday as the team wrapped up a disappointing 33-49 season, its first season in three years which didn't end in a trip to the playoffs.

As for returning to the Raptors next season, Marion, the free agent to be, would not commit one way or the other. Every indication he did give suggested that trip to Montreal may be his last taste of Canadiana until he returns next season as a member of a visiting team.

Case in point was his reply when asked if he wanted to come back.

"It's definitely an option," Marion said, trying to sound open to the situation. "I'm going to keep all my doors open. I've got to weigh every (option) that I have. It's a big opportunity I have this summer."

The opportunity Marion speaks of is deciding where he wants to play. In a little over a year, he has gone from a first-place team in Phoenix to a bad Miami team and then this year left the improving Heat to join a struggling Raptors club.

"I've got to worry about my future," Marion said when asked if the uncertainty of Chris Bosh remaining a Raptor factored into his own decision. "I've got to be selfish right now because I can't worry about nobody, I've got to worry about myself."

The one trump card the Raptors hold is that under the convoluted NBA salary cap they can offer Marion slightly more money and a slightly longer contract than any potential suitors. Whether that's enough to keep the Matrix in Raptors colours is anyone's guess.

GM Bryan Colangelo, who ultimately will decide how valuable Marion is to the Raptors by whatever offer he makes, was in New York for NBA Board of Governors meetings and will not conduct his own year-end wrapup until Monday.

Raptor after Raptor made it clear yesterday that Marion was a big part of their success over the final 13 games of the season (nine wins) and that it was getting comfortable with Marion and vice versa that made the difference.

"Part of the success that we had over the last 12 were some of the matchups that (Marion) had," Triano said. "Johnny Salmons can't figure out how to score against Shawn Marion. It happened twice. It happened here when we played the Bulls and it happened (Wednesday) night. Kevin Durant had a difficult time. He's one of the best scorers in the NBA. He came in here and had a hard time scoring field goals ... There's no way to characterize how (Marion) plays. It's just that he's long, he's active, he's wiry and he's got a bounce to him."

And he's going to be very tough to replace if it comes to that.


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