Ah yes, the anonymous source is back, this time in regards to DeMar DeRozan and his future with the Spurs. Now unlike previous times where we've seen an anonymous source come out with a little interesting nugget, this one actually has some merit to it. Remember when Chris Haynes reported this back in March?
If swingman DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs can’t agree to an extension by the late June deadline, the four-time All-Star intends to decline his $27.7 million player option for next season to become an unrestricted free agent, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
DeRozan, who has averaged 20 points in his 11-year career, would be among the top players on the market this summer.
DeRozan declining his option wouldn’t close the door on him re-signing with the Spurs, sources said, but it would definitely open an avenue for a team like the New York Knicks, who are expected to be interested.
Well last time I checked DeRozan has not signed an extension. So who could this mysterious agent be? Deep down we all know this is probably Rich Paul right? He's always up to something, the guy basically runs the NBA. The question now becomes, where the hell could DeRozan go? It's not like teams are going to be willing to give up all their cap space this summer and potentially ruin any chance they have at the 2021 free agent class which is loaded with stars. Here are the teams with a shit ton of space this offseason
I think you can eliminate teams like the Pelicans and Heat, both teams that already have their starting wing. Plus, the Heat aren't going to blow their load on DeRozan when they are 1000000% in on Giannis. I can't see DeRozan signing on to join the Hornets, so really his options are limited. He can take a massive pay cut and maybe join PHX, a team that is on the rise and has a good collection of talent. There's the chance he could be down to do that in a return to TOR as well. Especially if the Raptors lose out on Fred VanVleet. You can never rule out the Knicks, and them overpaying for DeRozan would be such a Knicks move. But it does feel like maybe his next landing spot is the team with his old coach Dwane Casey, which is the Pistons. That's a team that currently starts Tony Snell at SF. They aren't exactly a hot bed for free agents so I'm sure they wouldn't care about paying DeRozan to join Blake and DRose (if they keep him). I know they have Sekou Doumbouya as a young wing prospect, but you probably have to do all you can to keep Blake happy before he says fuck it and demands a trade.
If you look at who is going to be available as a free agent this offseason, unless Otto Porter Jr turns down his $26M player option in CHI (no chance), DeRozan is one of the better players to hit the market. It's like him, Gallinari, Fred VanVleet, Montrezl Harrell, Andre Drummond and Paul Millsap. Not exactly a group of guys that make you all that excited. But the fact is teams that have no shot at Giannis/Kawhi etc next offseason are going to have to spend their money somewhere.
So what does DeRozan have left?
It's been a weird tenure in SA, where his production has been there (did you know he shot 53% this season?!?!), he put up 22/5.5/5.6 and had the highest Ortg of his career. At the same time, it didn't exactly translate to wins. The DeRozan/Aldridge pairing for whatever reason hasn't worked like I bet the Spurs hoped it would. Defensively he's not all that great, but if you need a guy to go out and get you buckets, DeRozan can still do that. He does it all without shooting threes, which is a bit of a throwback approach.
I will say that quote is a little funny in a sense that nobody is forcing DeRozan to stay in SA. He has all the power. If he doesn't want to be there, he doesn't have to. Opt out and hit the market. It's not like he's locked into some sort of long term deal or anything. If he truly is unhappy, he'll pass up a contract that he will not get on the open market. The thing is if he opts in and then demands a trade, who is going to give up anything for a player that is about to hit free agency? Maybe there could be some sort of sign and trade situation, who knows.
My guess? He opts in to his final year at $27.8M. Then, given how the Spurs season goes they try and flip him and Aldridge at the deadline. Even if it's only for 75 cents on the dollar, at least that would be better than losing DeRozan for nothing.