Veteran shooting guard DeMar DeRozan was among the players that the San Antonio Spurs received in the blockbuster deal that sent Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors in the summer of 2018. DeRozan may have somewhat established an impressive performance in his first two years in San Antonio, but he doesn’t seem to be the player that can lead the team back to title contention. After they failed to earn the final playoff spot in the Western Conference this season, rumors started to circulate around DeRozan and his future with the Spurs.
With the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic affecting the entire league, multiple signs point toward DeRozan opting into the final year of his contract with the Spurs. However, instead of staying with a mediocre team for another season, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report suggested that the veteran shooting guard should seek a sign-and-trade deal with the Spurs in the 2020 free agency.
Though he remains hesitant to shoot the ball from beyond the arc, Swartz believes that DeRozan is still expected to receive strong interest from teams in dire need of additional star power to boost their chances of contending for the NBA championship title next year, like the Brooklyn Nets and the Portland Trail Blazers.
“With few teams projected to even have nearly $28 million in cap space, perhaps the best thing for all parties is to seek a sign-and-trade. Such an option would allow DeRozan to get the contract he wants from San Antonio, yet find a franchise that better aligns with his own timeline. If the Spurs don’t want to commit to DeRozan long-term and are worried about losing him for nothing in free agency, the option should appeal to them as well. DeRozan would be a nice third star with the Brooklyn Nets, and the Portland Trail Blazers could use a playmaking small forward, too.”
DeRozan hasn’t shown a strong indication that he’s not happy with the Spurs, but at this point in his career, he would definitely be better off playing for a team that has a legitimate chance of bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Though his floor-spacing ability will remain a big issue, he will be an intriguing fit alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in Brooklyn or Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in Portland.
Sending DeRozan to the Nets or the Trail Blazers via a sign-and-trade deal may also be beneficial for the Spurs. Aside from avoiding a huge pay-out to him, they could also receive assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process.