Kurt Helin

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) goes up for a dunk in front of Washington Wizards center Nene (42) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Associated Press

Report: As expected, Lakers will offer max to DeMar DeRozan this summer


Here are the facts: DeMar DeRozan is a lock to opt out of his contract this summer. He’d be an idiot not to. He has one season left on this deal at $10 million. A max offer for him will start in the four-year, $100 million range. Nobody leaves $90 million on the table.

DeRozan has said he wants to stay with the Raptors. There is every reason to believe he means this — he likes the city, he says this is the best team he’s ever been on, and he wants to see if he can be part of a Raptors team that makes the franchise’s first conference finals (or beyond).

But other teams will make calls. Specifically, the Los Angeles Lakers, as reported by Zach Lowe of ESPN (and echoed by many around the league).

That starts with DeRozan, a lock to decline his option and hit free agency this summer. A bunch of teams, including DeRozan’s hometown Lakers, are prepared to offer him a max deal starting at $25 million per season, and the Raptors know they will have to spend big to keep him.

Of course the Lakers are going to call — they are going to call every Tier 1 and Tier 2 free agent out there, and they will get meetings with almost all of them. That’s the advantage of being the Lakers.

It’s easy to imagine the Lakers’ pitch (which will focus on basketball this time around): We’ll give you $100 million to come home and step into Kobe Bryant‘s spot in the offense, with young talents such as D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Larry Nance around you. This is the franchise you grew up watching, you played your college ball just down Figuroa during the Kobe/Pau Gasol Lakers, you know how this city treats its stars when they win. Come out of the cold, come home.

It likely is not enough. The Toronto Raptors can offer more money — larger raises and a guaranteed fifth season — plus the team is better and closer to challenging for a title than the Lakers, who even in an optimistic world are a few years away. DeRozan is going to stay put.

Unless the Raptors lowball him. As Lowe notes, if Raptors GM Masai Ujiri decides that the team can get by with Terrence Ross in that slot and use the money they would have spent on DeRozan to upgrade at the four, it’s possible. Unlikely, because Ross isn’t ready, DeRozan is a fan favorite who has improved his game, and he fits well with Kyle Lowry. But it’s not impossible.

But the future of DeRozan is not in the Lakers’ hands, no matter what they offer. This is Toronto’s negotiation to lose.

PBT Extra: Should the Brooklyn Nets offer John Calipari $120 million?


If you are John Calipari — who still has an NBA itch, no matter how much he denies it — and you are offered total control of a franchise and $120 million, you take it. That includes Brooklyn, where the rebuilding process will be long and hard.

If you are the Brooklyn Nets should you offer it? Not at 10 years, no.

That’s what I tell Jenna Corrado in this latest PBT Extra. More than the Phil Jackson level money annually, it’s the 10 years that would scare me off. Calipari has failed once in the NBA, and I’m not marrying him for that long.

Spurs’ Boban Marjanovic with no-look pass, dunk on Nets

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Whenever the Spurs’ Boban Marjanovic enters the game, NBA Twitter goes on high alert. Hashtags are at the ready. As is the “Did Boban play?” account. In the arenas (even on the road) people are calling for him to play. The 7’3″ Serbian center has become that guy everyone roots for — which considering he’s a Spur is a huge accomplishment. He appreciates the love, as he told ESPN.

“I enjoy it every time,” he said. “They give me support and some energy. It’s good. I don’t drink Red Bull, but they give me wings.”

And he’s got some skill. He dropped 17 points in a game earlier this season, but you can see what he does well in this clip from San Antonio’s win over Brooklyn Monday. Boban has the skill to make the no-look pass, then when it comes to getting the rebound nobody on Brooklyn can move Boban off his spot.

Boban may be another of those brilliant Spurs finds in a couple of years. For right now, he’s just a lot of fun to watch — and to see how Twitter reacts when he does play. We want more Boban.

Hat tip NBA reddit.

Rajon Rondo had Kevin Garnett, now wants to pay it forward to DeMarcus Cousins

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The main reason Rajon Rondo came to the Sacramento Kings is they agreed to pay him $9.5 million.

However, it wasn’t completely about the money. Rondo is a Kentucky guy, as is Kings big man and franchise cornerstone DeMarcus Cousins — and Rondo sees a lot of himself in Cousins. The challenging temperament that can have coaches, teammates and fans oscillating between love and extreme frustration.

Rondo was guided through that by teammates such as Kevin Garnett and coach Doc Rivers, now Rondo wants to pay that forward to Cousins, the guard told David Aldridge of NBA.com.

“That was part of the reason I wanted to come here,” Rondo said. “If I didn’t have a guy like KG in my ear all the time, a coach like Doc, who knows where I’d be in this league — if I’d even be in this league. I’ve been wanting to play with Cuz for four or five years now. I think he’s the best big — he is the best big in the game. And with a little bit of direction, even as far as his knowledge of the game, he can take even a bigger step in this game. I’m enjoying it. He’s listening, he’s embraced it.”

“I know his intentions,” Cousins said. “His intentions at the end of the day are the same as mine. I can never have a disagreement with a guy like that. Every night we try to go out and do whatever it takes to win the game. You have a guy like that on the floor with you, it’s hard to have disagreements … I know his heart is to win the game. That’s why he’s the most unselfish player I’ve ever played with.”

Rondo seems to be getting through. In his last five games, Cousins is averaging 32.4 points a game on 51.4 percent shooting, grabbing 10.8 rebounds a game, even blocking a shot and hitting 32 percent from three. He’s on a tear, and he’s lifted Sacramento to a top 5 NBA offense in through those five games.
The Kings are 3-2 in that stretch, thanks to a bottom five defense, which keeps the Kings as the nine seed, two games back of Utah in the final playoff spot in the West. Sacramento is close, it just needs more of this Cousins then a little more help around him — including from Rondo, particularly on pick-and-roll defense. The Kings just need more stops in the short term.
In the long term, if Rondo is having this kind of impact on Cousins, the Kings likely will want to keep him around. Considering other teams will hesitate to chase Rondo in the wake of the Bill Kennedy incident, Sacramento should be able to retain Rondo (who is an unrestricted free agent come July). It will just come down to finding a number. The fact Cousins wants Rondo back should give the guard a little leverage in those talks.
But if Rondo really can pay it forward and has the ear of Cousins, if he can keep the big man playing like he has of late, the money may be worth every penny.

Watch Stephen Curry drop 31 on Miami Heat

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It wasn’t Stephen Curry‘s best night — he was 11-of-27 shooting and a -3 on the night. That’s the first time all season he’s ended a game with a negative +/-.

Even on an off night, Curry is just fun to watch. He dropped 31 on the Heat and looked like vintage Curry while it happened. Enjoy.