According to league sources at least five NBA teams inquired about Parker in the lead-up to Thursday night’s draft, where Toronto took DeRozan ninth overall out of the University of Southern California.
The five teams to ask about Parker, a free agent on July 1st, include San Antonio, Boston, Phoenix, Cleveland and Oklahoma City. While their intensity of interest might vary, it’s clear Parker will be able to find work and perhaps a multiyear deal in the NBA should he choose after his three-year, $12-million (U.S.) contract expires on Tuesday.
Given the Raptors have made a qualifying offer to Carlos Delfino and have pledged heavy minutes to DeRozan, it’s not clear how much they would want to spend on Parker in a back-up role.
As important as all the athletic talent and confidence that DeRozan brings and all the lessons he learned from the who’s who of the NBA, the fact that he targeted Toronto as a preferred destination may prove to be just as pivotal as he attempts to make the jump from college freshman to the pros.
Toronto is not DeRozan’s consolation prize. It was his first choice.
He views Toronto as a perfect fit for his talents and not even the cold winters that he has heard so much about, have discouraged him from opening his arms to his newly adopted city.
"I feel like I am in the best situation I could be," DeRozan said. "At this point, I feel there was no better city to go to. Toronto is a unique city. A lot of people underestimate it. They don’t know how beautiful it is and the type of atmosphere it has. That’s why I’m glad to be a part of this."
Marion can shock everyone by signing for the veteran’s minimum, in his case approximately $1.3 million, for a chance to win an NBA title.
As good as he would look in Toronto, imagine Marion lining up in Orlando alongside starters Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard.
There are so many possibilities, but few answers.
How long the Raptors will have to wait on the Marion decision largely depends on the pace of next week’s free-agent frenzy.
Perhaps Marion’s camp will realize that all that exists is the $5.5 million mid-level exception, a number the Raptors easily can exceed.
The Raptors need a small forward and Marion fits the bill — but at what price?
If Marion has no intention to return, but would like to maximize his earnings, does it make sense for the Raptors to agree to a sign-and-trade?
The Raptors will find out soon.
The answer will tell a lot about exactly what kind of team they will be.
DeRozan’s parents were with him in New York for Thursday’s draft, offering the support they’ve always given.
"I love to see the enjoyment my family got from seeing me do this," he said. "That’s one of the major parts that made me enjoy that moment (Thursday) night even more, they were there to see all my hard work pay off and I did it for them."
The Raptors hope the hard work pays off not only for his family but for them, too. DeRozan’s biggest strength right now is his athleticism, a trait sorely lacking on Toronto’s roster last year and adding him eases one part of the job that president and general manager Bryan Colangelo has to finish this summer.
"(With) the plans we’ve been talking about … it’s one more piece of the puzzle," said Colangelo.
From what I can gather the Raptors were working hard to try and make a deal lower in the draft when they saw that both Johnson (16th to the Bulls) and Jrue Holiday (17th Philadelphia) were sliding somewhat, but the cost was too steep. There was also an effort to get into the second round to pick up Derrick Brown (40th, Charlotte), with the asking price in the millions. Better to keep that powder dry for free agency was the thinking in the end.
First impressions of DeRozan, based on his just completed media availability at the ACC: Mature, poised, smart, nice, friendly. Now, those are obviously very preliminary impressions, but first impressions do count, and DeRozan passed with flying colours.
But I have to think that Bryan Colangelo really did come away from the NBA draft with mixed feelings because as much as DeMar DeRozan’s athleticism and upside is intriguing (check YouTube) and he’ll be fun to watch, he doesn’t likely make the Toronto Raptors better this season. My guess is until his game is polished there will be immense traffic accident potential every time he has the ball. At any rate, I’ve said all along that the Raptors need a more commanding presence at point guard than Jose Calderon (certainly more of a risk-taker) and I know there are people in the organization who feel that way, so for that reason I have to think Jonny Flynn was their guy, despite all the pre-draft quibble. We’re going to spend all year doing the ‘Whither Chris Bosh?’ thing but make no mistake: the point is going to be a position of much conjecture, too. The draft solved nothing in that area.
"DeMar DeRozan is going to establish himself as a player who’s different than Vince," Colangelo said at a news conference introducing Toronto’s first-round pick, selected ninth overall out of the University of Southern California.
"Those comparisons are fun to make, they’re easy to make because of the athletic attributes, but let’s see what DeMar DeRozan can become, in terms of the best basketball player possible.
"He’s got the right attitude, the right mentality, we’re going to have the right coaches around him … He’s got a chance to be special, but let’s let him do it on his own time."
Fair enough. It is a lot to ask of a 19-year-old to move from Compton, Calif., to Toronto and fix all that ails the Toronto Raptors. So let’s get this out of the way now: He’s not Vince. He won’t be Vince. And really, that’s probably for the best.
Video: Draft Review
#9 Toronto Raptors DeMar DeRozan Grade: A-
This is possibly the best pick the Raptors could have hoped for. DeRozen is freakishly athletic. Will be a key piece in forcing Chris Bosh to consider staying, If Bosh leaves, Toronto has a solid component to build around for the future. NEXT YEAR: if they keep Chris Bosh, this should be a playoff team in 2010.
I just mentioned that few players in this draft have more upside than Jordan Hill; and DeRozan might be one of the few. He is an electrifying athlete that can virtually jump out of a gym, possessing a verical leap of over 40 inches. He got off to a slow start at USC, but finished like a freight train garnering all kinds of attention in the process. He averaged 13.9 point and 5.7 rebounds at SC. DeRozan still has a lot of developing to do physically and needs to improve his outside shooting (16.7% 3PT-Shooting). He is an extremely long athlete capable of posting-up other shooting guards or flying by small forwards. Overall, DeRozan gives Toronto a much-needed scorer with explosive potential.
As I’ve discussed many a time in the past few days, the DeRozan pick is going to take some time to grow on me. It sounds like the kid is going to work his heart out and is extremely excited to be heading to TO, two huge first steps, however I’m not sold. I worry about the time it will take for him to have an impact, if he has one at all, and still feel like there were other options for Bryan Colangelo that would
have had a more immediate and definite impact.
However I hope I’m wrong.