It’s obvious that there’s still a ton of love between DeMar DeRozan and Toronto, so maybe the San Antonio Spurs should trade him back.
When you read this headline, you probably thought I was crazy. What kind of team trades a franchise player, then trades to get him back the next year? How about a team that got what they needed from the initial trade, and want to make a splash to contend for another title?
The San Antonio Spurs traded for wing DeMar DeRozan out of necessity, not because they necessarily wanted to. Two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard forced his way out and requested a trade after toying with the franchise that groomed him for a whole year as he nursed his degenerative quadricep injury. He got back to the court and earned that second coveted Larry O’Brien trophy in the process.
San Antonio and DeMar both sat back and watched this unveil, shaking their fists and holding their breath in the process. Kawhi abandoned San Antonio and Toronto abandoned DeMar, leaving both entities left to form a new allegiance in pursuit of basketball greatness.
In the process, DeMar has learned a ton from the Spurs and their coaching staff. Basketball guru Gregg Popovich has established a firm relationship with DeRozan based on respect and passion. DeRozan is a student of the game and Pop is the ultimate teacher, so they’ve spent the past season and a half helping DeRozan to become a better all-around player and leader.
However, this match isn’t working out for either side and the writing is on the walls for a departure. San Antonio is the ninth seed in the West despite DeRozan playing the best basketball of his life, and the young core in the Alamo City continues to bud in spite of the dominant nature of DeRozan’s game.
Still, it’s become abundantly clear that DeRozan cannot be the best player on a top-level team, which is exactly why it makes sense for him to return to Toronto. He’d no longer be the Raptors’ best player.
Since DeRozan left, forward Pascal Siakam has become the ultimate forward of the future with a dynamic two-way skill set based in sound fundamentals and tremendous effort. He can make plays for others from the four-spot and has developed into a deadly floor-spacer. Siakam’s rebounding is improved, and his decision-making skills get better every single game.
Toronto is the third-seed in the East because of its incredible defensive prowess but sits at 13th in offensive rating and 12th in average scoring. If they were to return DeRozan as a primary scorer, the Raptors could raise the ceiling for their team and pull off one of the most incredible front office maneuvers in NBA history.
And yet, none of it matters unless there’s a solid deal in place, and I think I found one that works for all parties.