DeMar DeRozan came out and really rocked it last weekend. Not like Lenny Kravitz, we mean in a good way.
He came out for the dunk contest Saturday and threw it down old school. Forget the cars and the second backboard and stuffed animals hanging from the rim. He came out and just dunked.
He lost. For the second year in a row. And he’s done with it, he told the Associated Press (via Slam).
“I’m a dunker. Dunk contests, you go out there and dunk. I’m not into all the props and everything,” DeRozan said at shootaround before Tuesday’s game against Charlotte. “I try to come out with a creative dunk and do it and go from there. My fans liked it and you can see the reaction from a lot of people afterward.
“If there’s a dunk contest next year I’ll do it. But not no prop dunk contest.”
DeRozan speaks for a lot of people, ones who think the dunk contest is more spectacle than show of athletic skills. People who think the props cheapen the event.
The people are losing the war, however. NBA Saturday is not about skills (well, technically the Skills Challenge is, we guess), it’s about show. The NBA is embracing the spectacle, and the fans are tuning in. The old-school dunk contest now is in the wing of the museum with the T-Rex bones.
That said, DeRozan did get jobbed on this one. He was good. Very good.
NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.
Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.
Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.
A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”
Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.
DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.
But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.
DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:
“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.
“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”
This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.
Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.
Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.
I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.