SAN ANTONIO – Headed into this season, the Spurs knew they would have to make a decision on DeMar DeRozan’s future with the franchise one way or another.
It’s no surprise, especially with the team floundering at the moment, that rumors have surfaced about the possibilities of a DeRozan trade.
The latest came on Wednesday when The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported that the Orlando Magic had expressed interest in trading for the former all-star.
It’s also been reported that DeRozan is seeking a max contract extension this summer, but he and the Spurs were not close on a potential deal.
The Spurs traded for DeRozan in the summer of 2018 after the franchise’s relationship with Kawhi Leonard deteriorated.
DeRozan has been a good soldier for San Antonio since the trade.
He’s adapted to coach Gregg Popovich’s system and produced at a very good, if not spectacular level.
But the Spurs have a bit of a logjam at the wing-guard position, and if he is not in their immediate future, then it make sense to move on sooner rather than later.
DeRozan has a $27.7 million player option this summer. It’s believed he will decline the option and hit the free agent market.
If that happens and DeRozan signs with another team, then the Spurs will have lost him without getting anything in return, and essentially not have much to show from the Leonard deal.
The Spurs record and positioning in the Western Conference could make the decision easier.
If they turn things around and are in contention for a top 4-5 seed before the trade deadline in early February, they should attempt to keep the group together.
DeMar is well-liked in the locker room and on the surface, has done everything the Spurs and coaching staff has asked of him, including showing the younger guards how to be a professional.
What would the Spurs get in a potential DeMar deal? It would most likely not be a player of his caliber.
A team making a trade for DeRozan, such as Orlando, would feel the need to contend this season knowing he would most likely be a half-season rental.
The Spurs would likely take back some form of youth and potential, which would continue the movement we have seen from Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Bryn Forbes and yes, even Lonnie Walker, who is currently buried on the bench.
There’s a bit of irony in the Spurs retiring Tony Parker’s jersey on Monday night.
For nearly two decades, the Spurs essentially knew what path they had to take to contend for championships. At 5-6, they are now in uncharted waters.