Will DeMar DeRozan finish out the season in San Antonio?
The Spurs shooting guard could be moved ahead of the 2020 trade deadline, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, who reports that executives around the league would not be surprised if the Spurs make a DeRozan deal.
Despite the fact that he has performed ably since arriving in Texas from Canada, DeRozan might not be in town for that much longer. He could even be traded ahead of the deadline. DeRozan can become a free agent in 2020 by declining his $27.7 million player option; he was far apart from the team on extension talks before the season, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. The Spurs could always deal him sooner rather than let him walk for nothing.
TRADE RUMORS: Heat might be stuck with Dion Waiters
In terms of possible suitors, the Magic are searching for “scoring help” and interested in trading for DeRozan, per O’Connor. While it seems odd at first glance, a Magic-Spurs deal could be beneficial for both sides.
Despite having a top-five defensive rating (101.1), Orlando finds itself in the bottom three of the Eastern Conference standings because of an absolutely disgusting offense. The Magic own the second-worst offensive rating in the league (99.8), only slightly ahead of the Knicks (99.3), and the worst effective field goal (46.8) and true shooting (50.6) percentages in the NBA.
DeRozan has his limitations, but he is capable of getting buckets. He is averaging 19.4 points per game while shooting 49.3 percent from the field through 10 games with the Spurs. He is the definition of a guy who raises a team’s floor without boosting its ceiling — and that might be good enough for a Magic team hoping to return to the playoffs.
As for the Spurs, they have a bit of a logjam in the backcourt. Coach Gregg Popovich is tasked with dividing minutes among veterans like DeRozan, Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli as well as rising guards like Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, Derrick White and Lonnie Walker. Trading DeRozan would give those younger players more opportunities to shine and allow San Antonio to fill out a frontcourt lacking depth.
The big issue here: What are the Magic willing to give up? As O’Connor notes, DeRozan could enter free agency next summer if he declines his player option. That means Orlando would be giving up assets for potentially half a season of DeRozan. A talented forward like Aaron Gordon or Jonathan Isaac should be off-limits, but that might be the only type of player the Spurs find interesting.
The Spurs haven’t placed DeRozan firmly on the trade block just yet. Still, it’s worth monitoring the guard rotation in San Antonio as the season progresses.