The San Antonio Spurs have not made a midseason trade in more than five years, instead choosing, for the most part, to finish the season with as similar a lineup as possible to the one they started with. However, a recent report suggests that the team could make a surprise move before the February trade deadline by trading their star shooting guard, DeMar DeRozan.
In his list of five NBA players who could “surprisingly” be traded before this season’s deadline, Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale led off with DeRozan, explaining that dealing him elsewhere could shock fans for two reasons — the fact that the last midseason trade for the Spurs took place in February 2014, as well as the 30-year-old guard’s status as one of San Antonio’s top players. He added that the Spurs, who currently have a 4-2 record and are tied for fourth place in the Western Conference, once again have a better net rating when DeRozan is not playing, and it’s not just because the team has more than enough help off the bench.
As explained by Favale, DeRozan’s lack of three-point shooting — and the Spurs’ own status as one of the NBA’s worst teams from beyond the arc — makes him a less than ideal fit for the team. As shown on his Basketball-Reference player page, DeRozan, who was acquired in the summer of 2018 in the trade that sent Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors, has attempted only 45 three-point shots in a total of 83 regular-season games for San Antonio, making only seven of those long-range tries.
Per Bleacher Report, the Spurs currently rank 29th out of 30 NBA teams in terms of three-point attempts and are only shooting 34.6 percent from beyond the arc. This, according to Favale, suggests that their usual strategy of taking fewer three-point attempts than most other teams isn’t quite as effective as it used to be.
Although no suggested trade packages were mentioned, Favale brought up three teams as the most likely candidates to trade for DeRozan before the February deadline — the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, and Orlando Magic. He noted, however, that trading the former University of Southern California star might not — and should not — trigger a “teardown or miniature reset,” as the Spurs could remain solid while being led on offense by big man LaMarcus Aldridge and also relying on guards such as Bryn Forbes, Patty Mills, and Dejounte Murray.
Likewise discussed was another reason why the Spurs might want to trade DeRozan — the possibility that he could leave San Antonio via free agency in the summer of 2020.
“Moving DeRozan would be more of a business decision. He holds a $27.7 million player option for next season, and if he declines it, the Spurs risk his landing a mammoth deal in a free-agent market begging for recognizable names.”
Despite how Favale listed him as a surprise trade candidate, DeRozan has figured in his share of trade rumors in recent weeks. One of these, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, suggested that the Spurs could send him to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for nine-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul.