The San Antonio Spurs aren’t giving any minutes to forward DeMarre Carroll, so they have no reason not to trade him at the 2020 deadline.
In his first major free-agent acquisition for the San Antonio Spurs, first-year general manager Brian Wright botched his execution. He allowed the prospective Marcus Morris signing to coerce him into letting Latvian sharpshooter Davis Bertans go while extending the duration of 33-year-old DeMarre Carroll’s contract.
On paper, the signing seemed too good to be true due to the price and fit. He’s a floor spacer, versatile defensive and physical presence that doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be productive. However, there must’ve been some miscommunication along the way because Carroll hasn’t earned a lick of playing time this season under storied head coach Gregg Popovich.
Carroll has earned a grand total of 135 minutes in the silver and black, most of which have come during garbage time, and the veteran wing hasn’t scratched the rotation since January 8 against Boston – a game that saw him log all of one minute and 48 seconds.
Obviously this isn’t working out, and the Spurs are quickly falling out of contention. For whatever reason, Popovich refuses to play him, so Wright needs to take it upon himself to get Carroll off this roster as soon as possible.
At this point, the return doesn’t even matter. Whether he’s used as a chip in a larger trade, as I eluded to in this three-team trade between San Antonio, LA and Memphis, or in a smaller salary dumping trade, he needs to go. The Spurs would be better off looking at the mid-season buyout market with his roster spot or bringing along another wing or center to help alleviate some of the team’s difficulties this year.
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It’s hard to put all of the blame on Carroll himself. I can’t help but think part of this is that Popovich is stubborn, and there’s something about the veteran wing that makes him refuse to acknowledge his presence. Maybe there’s a hidden injury that hasn’t been disclosed to the public, or he said something so offensive that Pop decided it would be better to pretend he doesn’t exist.
It’s not outlandish to say that the reasoning doesn’t matter anymore, because the Spurs need to go into panic mode. As of this piece, they’ve dropped three games in a row, two against non-playoff teams, and are six games below .500 for the ninth seed in the West. If San Antonio can’t find a role for Carroll, then another team will and it’s time to take advantage of that.
In my honest assessment, it seems like Wright has no idea what he wants to do with this team. The best deal he’s made is the four-year extension for Dejounte Murray, but besides that, it’s been nothing but red flags. By guaranteeing franchise power forward LaMarcus Aldridge’s contract, he projected a win-now mindset. If that’s how he wants to carry on then he needs to lean into that and make a move to help this team move forward.
This isn’t fair to Carroll, and it’s not fair to the fans to watch their team waste a roster spot as they fall into a deep abyss of irrelevance.