Spurs: Drummond picks up final year of contract, DeRozan likely to follow

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 13: DeMar DeRozan #26 (L) and Andre Drummond #25 of the 2015 USA Basketball Men's National Team talk on the court before a USA Basketball showcase at the Thomas & Mack Center on August 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 13: DeMar DeRozan #26 (L) and Andre Drummond #25 of the 2015 USA Basketball Men's National Team talk on the court before a USA Basketball showcase at the Thomas & Mack Center on August 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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No sense in DeMar DeRozan declining his player option with San Antonio Spurs

The financial troubles facing the NBA are the underlying current that will define the rest of the league’s summer and early fall. From a debatably premature return to play and adding new wrinkles in the playoff format, the league is going all out in order to recoup some of the revenue they’ve lost this year. Free agents on the San Antonio Spurs and other teams are just another party weighing how these decisions will impact their future deals.

One of the biggest dominoes that has yet to fall for the Spurs is the question of how their star DeMar DeRozan will handle his upcoming player option. DeRozan can return to the Spurs for the 2020-21 season for a $27.7 million dollar final year before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021. While we still have no official word from DeRozan on how he will proceed, the recent announcement by a fellow star does give us some indication of how he’s likely to handle the decision.

On a recent episode of ESPN’s Le Batard & Friends, Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, another one of the top free agents with a player option this summer, said that he will be returning to the Cavaliers this fall.

“Yeah, it’s going to be hard to give up, so you can count on me being in Cleveland still”

Drummond can rake in $28.7 million for his final year with the Cavaliers, that’s a tough figure to walk away from. And from what Drummond said, the guaranteed money that’s waiting for him in Cleveland seems to be the single factor in him opting in for this final year. Secure the bag, Andre. It’s a safe financial move, especially given the ramifications of the league’s financial troubles on the salary cap. Now we will have to wait and see if DeMar follows the same path.

It makes sense for DeMar DeRozan to return to the San Antonio Spurs

As a collective, San Antonio Spurs fans seem ready to wrap up this final chapter of the franchise’s story and move on from DeMar. It’s nothing personal, he’s played great in his two years in San Antonio, but his cap figure is holding the team back from building around the promising trio of Lonnie Walker, Dejounte Murray, and Derrick White.

But as we saw with Drummond, the security that comes with a full guaranteed eight-figure contract holds a lot of sway in a player’s decision making. It’s hard to envision DeRozan turning down his $27.7 million dollars in favor of a contract of an unknowable amount with a team such as the Atlanta Hawks or New York Knicks.

If DeRozan does decide to pick up his final year with the Spurs, the front office should immediately start calling around the league and look for a trade partner. Even if he’s back with the team for the ’20-21 season they shouldn’t be planning on building around him past that point. Better to trade him away for assets mid-season and push more minutes to their young trio of guards than ride out the full season with a star on an expiring deal still on the roster.

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DeMar has until October 17th to decide how he will handle his player option. Barring any huge developments, it seems increasingly likely that he will be back with the Silver and Black next year.

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