With the San Antonio Spurs mostly out of playoff contention this season, shooting guard DeMar DeRozan has been featured in myriad trade rumors. The Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks have seldom been linked to the four-time All-Star in recent months, but a recent report mentioned both teams as potential destinations should he be traded in the 2020 offseason.
On Monday morning, Bleacher Report‘s Grant Hughes explained that DeRozan, despite his solid numbers, isn’t an ideal fit for most NBA teams and isn’t that much better off either if he remains with the Spurs. He pointed out that the 30-year-old has essentially been obstructing a number of younger backcourt players in San Antonio who could benefit from additional playing time on a rebuilding team. It was also noted, however, that the Spurs may have been justified in giving their young guards fewer minutes than expected, especially since one of them, Dejounte Murray, had missed all but three games in the 2018-19 season due to a torn ACL.
“Where in this modern, mid-range-averse environment might DeRozan be more useful?” Hughes continued. “Where is there a need for a high-usage, moderate-efficiency, zero-defense veteran?”
Although he didn’t mention any specific trade ideas, Hughes mentioned the Pacers and Knicks as two teams that could potentially make good use of DeRozan’s skill set if the Spurs trade him in the offseason. The Bleacher Report writer explained that teams trading for the shooting guard would need to have good defenders at both guard positions and at small forward while also being comfortable with the fact that DeRozan’s “anachronistic” shot profile doesn’t include too many three-point shots.
The No. 1 play of the 2019-20 season so far according to @SportsCenter…
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Looking at both of the aforementioned destinations, the Pacers are ranked dead last in the NBA in three-point shot attempts, as shown on their Basketball-Reference team page. They are, however, 12th in the league in three-point shooting percentage and also have a former All-Defensive guard and steals leader in Victor Oladipo.
Similarly, the Knicks are ranked 29th out of 30 teams in three-point attempts, with their 33.7 percent shooting clip from long range only good for 27th place, per Basketball-Reference. Likewise, their rotation features two defensive-minded point guards in Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina, as well as a skilled wing defender in small forward Maurice Harkless.
In conclusion, Hughes wrote that it’s also possible for DeRozan to opt-out of the final year of his contract — which will pay him $27.7 million in 2020-21 — and enter unrestricted free agency. Still, he stressed that the most likely scenario would be for the Spurs to find an interested suitor in the trade market so they could get something in return.