The San Antonio Spurs should trade DeMar DeRozan this offseason
By Andrew Ites
The San Antonio Spurs are at a bit of a crossroads as a franchise where it may be time to move on from DeMar DeRozan after just one year.
The San Antonio Spurs were forced to make the biggest trade in franchise history last offseason when Kawhi Leonard demanded to be sent away after several disagreements with the organization.
The Spurs did pretty well in the deal with Toronto considering they had little to no leverage after Kawhi’s trade demands.
San Antonio received DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a first round pick in return for sending Kawhi and Danny Green across the border.
While DeRozan had a solid year and Poeltl showed promise, it’s been difficult for Spurs fans to watch Kawhi take Toronto to the Finals, with the help of Danny Green, in his first year with the franchise.
San Antonio now finds themselves in the middle of two generations: the DeRozan and Aldridge generation, and the new era of the Spurs that will be led by Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker, and Jakob Poeltl.
There seems to be a cap on how far DeRozan and Aldridge can take this team, and I think the front office has seen enough promise to go all-in on the next generation
The best move for the organization would be to find a team to trade for DeMar DeRozan this offseason.
Next: Contract Situation
One of the key factors why the Spurs should try to move DeMar DeRozan this offseason is his contract situation.
San Antonio is set to pay DeMar $27.74 million next season, and then he will have a player option for the 2020-21 season for the same salary.
If I had to guess, I think DeRozan will decline that player option in the summer of 2020 which will make him an unrestricted free agent. If that situation does come to pass, the Spurs run the risk of losing DeMar next summer while getting nothing in return.
That’s why San Antonio’s front office should be proactive and start shopping DeRozan this offseason because I don’t think they are strongly considering re-signing him to the price tag he would likely demand when his contract is up.
Getting that $27.74 million off the books would also provide some salary cap relief for a team that will be strapped for cash while DeRozan and Aldridge are on the roster.
The Spurs are one of the best organizations in sports at looking forward towards the future in order to sustain their high level of play. Trading DeMar this summer would go a long way in ensuring the future success of this organization.
Next: Overall Impact on the Team
Overall Impact on the Team
DeMar DeRozan has always managed to put up really good box score numbers ever since he broke out during his second year in the league, but the metrics that measure his overall impact on the game tell the real story of whether he helps his team win.
While DeRozan put up 21.2 points, 6.2 assists, and 6 rebounds per game this season, the Spurs actually performed better when he was on the bench.
San Antonio’s defensive rating was 2.2 points worse when he was on the floor, and their offensive rating dipped by 2.8 points as well when DeRozan was playing.
ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus, which attempts to sort through some of the statistical noise included in traditional on-off numbers, ranked DeRozan 47th among 115 shooting guards. This trend of struggling on defense goes back to his Toronto days where he ranked 69th among 90 shooting guards in defensive RPM.
DeRozan’s offensive real plus-minus wasn’t as impressive as one might expect either, considering his box score numbers, as he ranked 22nd at his position in ORPM last season.
DeMar’s lack of an outside shot prevents him from scoring at the same efficiency as some of the league’s top offensive players.
DeRozan has never maintained a true shooting percentage of over 55.5% for an entire season, whereas many of the NBA’s top scorers are well over 60%.
DeMar’s overrated impact on winning could allow the Spurs to get a good deal for him if an organization puts too much weight on the importance of his impressive traditional statistics.
Next: Potential Trade Targets
Potential Trade Targets
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The Spurs need to get adequate value back in a deal if they are to move on from DeRozan this offseason, otherwise it’s probably not worth shaking up their roster for the second year in a row.
Dylan Carter mentioned Robert Covington and T.J. Warren as potential trade targets to help San Antonio’s deficiency on the wing. They are both younger than DeRozan and being paid significantly less, which would help the Spurs shift into their new era seamlessly.
In potential trades for Warren or Covington, the Spurs would have to take back some extra money to make the salaries match. But as long as that money can come off of the books after one season, San Antonio should be in good standing financially moving forward.
The Spurs could also try to swing for the fences and acquire Bradley Beal, who is still only 26 years old. San Antonio would obviously have to give up some significant draft compensation in that deal, but Beal would be an incredible player to build their roster around.
There is also the possibility that another star gets fed up with their current situation like Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and Kyrie Irving all have in recent years. DeRozan’s salary would come close to matching that of a max player, and the Spurs have plenty of young players and draft picks to throw in a deal if they really like the next disgruntled star player.
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San Antonio should be looking to get younger with a DeMar DeRozan trade to align with the timeline of their promising young core. If the right deal presents itself this summer, the Spurs shouldn’t hesitate in making a big move again this offseason.