Raptors' DeMar DeRozan not worried about extension

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:15 AM ET

TORONTO - No key Raptor has more to prove than DeMar DeRozan this season.

Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross are rookies, Andrea Bargnani had a semi-breakout campaign last year.

Meanwhile, DeRozan struggled, shooting a career-worst 42.2% from the field, including a huge decline in his mid-range marksmanship. He was particularly poor in the first half of the season. Coupled with the fact his defence didn’t take a noticeable step forward, unlike many of his teammates, means 2012-13 is shaping up as a huge year for the fourth-year guard, who is eligible for a contract extension until Halloween.

Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo said at media day on Monday that he has spoken to DeRozan’s agent “multiple times over the past several weeks to start to establish a dialogue,” but a pre-Halloween extension is far from a given.

“He is clearly a piece of this team that we see as a piece for the future. He’s made great strides in his first few years, and we’re anticipating he has a much higher ceiling to (reach),” Colangelo said.

“He’s very young, only 23 years old now. We anticipate very bright things for him on the horizon.”

Colangelo said waiting wouldn’t be the worst move.

“We’ve also agreed that should we not come to a conclusion with respect to an extension at this time, clearly it’s not the end of the world. We may have to grow together more before that deal is imminent.”

Meaning DeRozan will have to show that he has improved and that he is worth more money.

If a deal is not reached, DeRozan will either have to sign an extension before Oct. 31, 2013, or accept a $4.5-million US qualifying extension, making him a restricted free agent a year later.

No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin is the only member of DeRozan’s draft class to sign an extension so far, though Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Oklahoma City’s James Harden, possibly Philadelphia’s Jrue Holiday and Denver’s Ty Lawson likely will get large extensions done in the next few weeks.

DeRozan said he plans to let his play do the talking if a deal isn’t reached this month.

“I really don’t look at my whole contract situation. I look at every year like it’s a big year for me because I have to do 10 times more than I did the previous year,” he said.

“I don’t look at it like contract or this and that, I look at it as just me being a player and trying to get better.

“I leave (the talks) up to BC and my agent. I let my job speak for (itself) and at the end of the day we’ll see what happens.”

DeRozan played with the USA Select team this summer, getting a chance to go up against and learn from the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. He says joining them as an all-star is his goal.

“Going against them really challenged me to try to get there this season,” DeRozan said.

If that happens, the Raptors will have little choice other than to show him the money next summer.

ROSS EAGER TO PROVE HIMSELF

A lot of heads turned when the Raptors selected Terrence Ross eighth overall in the 2012 draft.

The so-called draft experts had pegged him as a late-lottery guy after all, so reach was the buzzword.

But the Raptors believed Ross was the ideal pick there and the confident rookie agrees.

“I think I got picked at the right spot, the Raptors knew what I could do, they drafted me for a reason,” Ross explained at media day on Monday.

“Playing on the West Coast (for the Washington Huskies in Seattle), not a lot of people had the opportunity to see me as much as they saw the Jeremy Lamb’s (Connecticut), Austin Rivers’ (Duke). I’m OK with that, it’s no big deal to me because I’m in the right position I think.”

Head coach Dwane Casey, who spends his off-seasons in Seattle, is a big Ross fan and is eagerly anticipating the boost he will provide from outside.

“(Shooting) was our weak point last season. We’ve got guys in now who can make a three, we want to make sure we emphasize that,” Casey said.

The slight Ross said his biggest adjustment will be to the physical nature of the NBA game.

“Guys are a lot bigger,” he said.


Videos

Photos