TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan expressed a desire to stay with the Toronto Raptors one day after his team was eliminated from the playoffs.
DeRozan, who will become an unrestricted free agent July 1, has been with the Raptors for his entire career. He was asked specifically if he can find a better situation than Toronto
"I don't think so," DeRozan said Saturday. "My mindset has always been Toronto. I've always preached it. I was passionate about it when we were losing, when we were terrible. I said I was going to stick through this whole thing, and I want to be that guy who brings this organization to where it is now. I definitely don't want to switch that up after we win."
DeRozan, a two-time All-Star who averaged 23.5 points per game during the regular season, has been linked to his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, who could be one of several teams to offer him a maximum contract starting at $25 million annually.
Per collective bargaining rules, the Raptors will be able to offer DeRozan up to five years at around $145 million, whereas other teams will be able to offer him up to four years at around $107 million. Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri will address the media early next week.
"I grew up in L.A. That's my home. There's not a part of L.A. I haven't seen," said DeRozan, who attended Compton High School and USC before being selected No. 9 overall by Toronto in the 2009 NBA draft. "I don't get caught up into it. I let whoever comes up with that say what they want to say.
"The only thing appealing to me is the things I've done in this organization and the things that can be done here. And that's always been my mindset since I've been here."
This is not the first time DeRozan has made his hopes known.
"I've been saying it for a long time. I haven't changed, not one bit," DeRozan said. "I took pride in putting that Raptors jersey on when people counted us out or when people said, 'Why go to Toronto? Why this, why that, why this, why that?' You hear it so much -- that gave me the motivation to want to prove people wrong or prove critics wrong -- why this organization can't be a winning organization. You know what I mean? I took pride in that a long time ago. To see how far [we've come], that's what it's all about."
DeRozan was Toronto's most consistent scorer in the Eastern Conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging a team-leading 23.0 points per game. The Raptors, appearing in the conference finals for the first time in franchise history, were eliminated by the Cavaliers with their loss at home Friday night in Game 6.