NetsDaily: Who do Nets like as FAs? DeRozan, but also N…

NetsDaily: Who do Nets like as FAs? DeRozan, but also Nicolas Batum, Mike Conley Jr, Evan Turner. Don’t be surprised to see J.P. Vaulet in Brooklyn.

More on DeMar DeRozan Free Agency

He loves the city and the fanbase arguably much more than Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter or Chris Bosh ever did. “I think I’m just excited for being in Toronto and people really getting a chance to see what Toronto is like,” DeRozan said Thursday after practice about his thoughts on the upcoming all-star weekend in T.O. “The city, the culture, really, to put us on the main stage and let this city get the credit that it deserves that I feel like it never got.”
The Nets will have about $40 million in cap space this summer, and they got an up-close look Wednesday at one of their primary expected targets: DeMar DeRozan. The Toronto shooting guard had 15 points, five assists, four boards and two steals in the Raptors’ 91-74 win at Barclays Center. He has a player option worth just more than $10 million for next season, but a source close to DeRozan told The Post that he will opt out, becoming a free agent. But that doesn’t guarantee he’ll be a Net, or anything other than a Raptor.
“I can tell you he’ll opt out. But how he feels about Brooklyn — or anybody else — I can’t say. Only he can answer that,’’ said the source, who added that DeRozan feels he’s been treated well by the Raptors and “has a trait that’s been lost by so many players. It’s called loyalty.”
It’s safe to say that if DeRozan had waited and signed a deal in restricted free agency the following summer (he averaged 18.1 points and 44.5 percent shooting that season), he would have been given a juicier contract. He made the Eastern Conference All-Star team the following year, and even if his efficiency has never returned, the shooting guard has more than made good on the Raptors' commitment. “I don’t regret anything,” DeRozan told Sporting News on Friday. “Everything happens for a reason, man. This is the place I wanted to be, so that’s where I wanted to be. I never second-guessed or thought twice about anything.”
Yet, DeRozan seemed taken aback by the line of questioning. He said he had not even thought about his likely free agency, which is hard to believe. Who could ignore the prospect of a giant raise? A few days removed from the queries, he got at the truth of the issue. “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.”
To be even eligible for an extension, DeRozan would have to decide to opt in to the final year of his current deal, a contract that woefully underpays him at about $10,050,000 next year, AFTER the new TV money kicks in and the cap goes up to north of $90 million. Unless he and his agent both suffer “episodes” that render them nincompoops, that ain’t happening. And if it did – and it won’t – under terms of the CBA, DeRozan would only be eligible for a two-year extension past 2016-17 with maximum annual raises of 7.5 per cent per year.
When asked about DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors all-star shooting guard who is expected to decline his player option at the end of the season , Ujiri said that the team will not renegotiate with DeRozan during the season. “There will be no extension talks with DeMar [before the end of the 2015-16 season],” Ujiri told Free Association. “He can only extend for a certain amount of money and I just foresee that DeMar sees himself- and we see him- as more than that type of a player. So I think DeMar is going to wait to see how it goes this year and do the best deal for himself, and we’ll do the best deal for ourselves, too.”
Storyline: DeMar DeRozan Free Agency
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Mike D'Antoni not ruling out coaching again

Former Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, working as an advisor to first-year Pelicans coach Willie Green, attended Sunday’s game at Toyota Center, the first game he had attended this season. Living in Austin, D’Antoni said he watches all Pelicans games to be available as a consultant and does plan to attend more games throughout the season. But as much as he has enjoyed his current role and last season’s as an assistant for Steve Nash with the Nets in his first season, he said he would not rule out a return to coaching.