During the San Antonio Spurs’ most recent game on Tuesday — which saw them pick up a 119-109 home win over the Dallas Mavericks — rumors swirled that DeMar DeRozan could soon be trying his luck as a free agent. However, the Spurs’ star shooting guard was quick to shoot down those rumors when asked about them after the game.
According to Bleacher Report, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports said on TNT’s broadcast of the Spurs vs. Mavericks game that DeRozan plans to opt-out of the final year of his contract with San Antonio if he doesn’t receive a contract extension, thus allowing him to enter free agency in the summer of 2020. Originally picked ninth overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 2009 NBA Draft, the 30-year-old played his entire professional career for the Raptors before getting traded to San Antonio in the summer of 2018, in a deal that sent Kawhi Leonard to Toronto.
After the game, DeRozan spoke to reporters and denied the rumors, as quoted in a report from Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.
“Who reported it? Did my Mama say it? Don’t listen to it then.”
Should DeRozan enter free agency this summer, he should become one of the more sought-after players in what is generally considered to be a weaker class than usual. Currently, he is averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.5 assists, though as shown on his Basketball-Reference page, he is still a very limited three-point shooter compared to most modern NBA shooting guards. While he is shooting an accurate 52.8 percent overall from the field, he has only converted on eight out of 30 three-point shot attempts for a clip of 26.7 percent.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) March 3, 2020
As noted by Bleacher Report, DeRozan’s defense has been seen as another weakness in an otherwise versatile game. The outlet pointed out that the Spurs have a positive net rating (1.0) when the former University of Southern California star is on the bench, as compared to a negative rating (-2.9) when he is on the floor.
Given how the Spurs are still out of the playoff race, with their 27-36 record placing them 12th in the Western Conference, Bleacher Report opined that it may be in the team’s best interests to focus on a rebuilding effort and let DeRozan explore his options in free agency — unless they can surround him with substantially more talent for the 2020-21 campaign.
While it wasn’t mentioned where he might end up if he chooses to opt-out of his contract, DeRozan was one of the more frequently talked-about players ahead of last month’s trade deadline, with reports linking him to teams such as the Orlando Magic.