San Antonio Spurs’ guard DeMar DeRozan is expected to hit the free agency market this summer.
According to a report from BleacherReport earlier this month, the 30-year old DeRozan will hit the free agent market if the Spurs won’t offer him an extension:
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) March 11, 2020
DeRozan made $27,739,975.00 this season with San Antonio and he stands to make the same amount for the 2020-21 season if he opts into the final year of his contract. However, DeRozan’s current deal allows him to opt out and hit the free-agent market should he choose to. The rumors are saying that he is unhappy in San Antonio as the team has been unable to find consistent success since his arrival there.
DeRozan averaged 21.6 points 6.0 rebounds, and 6.2 assists in his first season with the Spurs. He helped the team reach the 2019 playoffs where they lost to the Denver Nuggets. DeRozan is putting up 22.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game this season but the Spurs are likely going to miss the playoffs if the season continues.
If DeRozan chooses to leave San Antonio, here are the possible landing spots for the 9th overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft:
The Miami Heat was one of the rumored destinations for DeRozan before the trade deadline and the Heat look like they are still one star-player short of becoming legitimate title contenders. Miami had a fantastic 2019-20 season where they were 41-24 and in 4th place in the Eastern Conference just before the action was suspended. But despite playing well and exceeding expectations, Miami just didn’t seem to have the kind of spunk that the Bucks, Raptors, or Celtics had. Adding DeRozan could change all that.
DeRozan had developed his playmaking skills while playing for Greg Popovich. The Heat started with Kendrick Nunn at point guard and listed Goran Dragic, and Jimmy Butler as the other “point guards” in their depth chart. While Butler averaged 6.1 assists per game, Jimmy could’ve put the energy to better use: scoring and defending. With DeRozan in tow, Butler should be able to do what he does best. Likewise, DeRozan is a legit 20-point scorer and should provide Miami with a consistent source of offense if their shooters aren’t hitting their three-pointers. The Heat has the 4th lowest payroll overall.
The Minnesota Timberwolves underwent a major change during the 2019-20 season. They broke up the tandem of Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins by trading the latter for D’Angelo Russell. Towns and Russell seem to get along well as KAT even welcomed D’Lo at the airport with his brand new T-Wolves jersey. But while Russell is an All-Star potential, he is a scoring point guard who doesn’t bring the kind of offense that Wiggins used to provide Minnesota. DeRozan does.
Adding DeMar DeRozan would not only help Russell with the playmaking chores. DeRozan’s one on one plays and ability to finish in transition gives Minnesota the same look they had with Wiggins. I think DeRozan and Wiggins play alike but DeMar is a better shooter and more of a team player than Wiggins which is good for Minnesota. A trio of Towns, DeRozan, and Russell would be a core that the Wolves can invest for their future. With a salary cap of under $100M, they have the money to sign DeRozan if he chooses to become a free agent.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks have been so bad that they are always a candidate landing spot for any superstar that is rumored to be on the move. New York has young talents like Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Elfrid Payton, and Kevin Knox but without a veteran superstar, they have not been able to play well together as a group. Randle is coming off his best season ever and he put up All-Star worthy numbers this season. If only the Knicks can pair him with a swingman who will not only lead the team but help R.J. Barrett grow.
DeMar DeRozan is no old man but he has a wealth of experience that is going to help young players like Barrett, Knox, Payton, Dennis Smith Jr., and Frank Ntilikina. The Knicks have plenty of potentials on their team but none of them can play the role of a go-to guy. DeRozan was Toronto’s go-to guy for years before he was sacrificed for Kawhi Leonard. He’s a legit All-Star who can put up the points and who is willing to take the big shot. That’s the guy New York Knicks need.
The Charlotte Hornets have the third-lowest payroll in the NBA for the 2021 season. This is a team that just lost its franchise player last summer when Kemba Walker signed with the Boston Celtics. The Hornets signed Terry Rozier from Boston but while Rozier would be an excellent complementary player, he is no go-to guy. The Hornets have found their main man in second-year player Devonte Graham but while Graham can put up the points, I don’t see leadership traits in him.
Like the Knicks, Charlotte needs a go-to guy and as I advertised previously, DeRozan is a legit one. Rozier can go back to his role as the spark of the bench while DeRozan will start alongside the much-improved Graham. With young talents like PJ Washington, Malik Monk, and Miles Bridges, a DeRozan led Hornets team would be a playoff candidate right away.
Why not? I mean DeRozan started his career in Toronto, he might as well return there and possibly end it up North. The Raptors have around $85M in salary cap for 2021, leaving enough space for them to sign DeRozan. This would be a weird scenario because Toronto sacrificed DeRozan for a chance to win an NBA title. They were successful while DeRozan struggled to help the Spurs win games. Will DeRozan want to play for the Raptors again? I think so.
The NBA is a professional league and DeRozan is a professional basketball player. He knows that anyone in the league can be traded. But if he wants to resurrect his career, he can do so in the place where it all began. Leonard is no longer in Toronto and the team is now led by Siakam, Lowry, VanVleet, and Gasol who all have played with DeRozan before. I think this is where the adjustment won’t be too much for both sides. I think the fans would love to get him back. Toronto is playing well right now. Adding DeRozan might get them back to the title hunt.