3 Teams to target if Spurs are forced to trade DeMar DeRozan
By Ethan Farina
Feb 27, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan (10) shoots in the first half against the New Orleans Pelicans at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Who should the San Antonio Spurs look to if they have to trade DeMar?
We’re getting into crunch time now folks. We’ve got less than a week until the trade deadline on March 25th and the talk around the San Antonio Spurs has cooled since they announced that they were going to be parting ways with LaMarcus Aldridge last week.
Cooling talks around the Spurs isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This is a team that does this quietly and rarely allows leaks out but the reports we’re hearing aren’t great. It seems like they’ve come to a standstill with the Miami Heat on both the Aldridge and Rudy Gay fronts.
Appearing on The Jump earlier this week, ESPN”s Brian Windhorst reported that the Spurs have several offers on the table but aren’t interested in them. A buyout looks more likely than ever.
But LaMarcus isn’t the only Spur who could get moved before next week’s deadline. Yahoo’s Chris Haynes recently intimated that San Antonio could look to trade DeMar DeRozan if they’re not able to come to terms on a contract extension by the deadline.
I’ve gone back and forth on what I think the Spurs should do with DeRozan after this season but with how he’s played it’s hard to make a great case against extending him. He’s done a phenomenal job of distributing the ball to the young guys but when it comes time to get down to winning he’s the one they look to in clutch moments.
But if he and the Spurs are going to be unable to come to an agreement on an extension then it would make some sense to trade him. Better that than to lose him to unrestricted free agency this summer.
I don’t want to see the San Antonio Spurs trade DeRozan in the next week but if it’s going to happen here’s who the Spurs should be looking to as trade partners.
Next: Denver Nuggets
Feb 6, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Denver Nuggets center Bol Bol (10) before the game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
San Antonio Spurs could send DeRozan to Denver Nuggets
A few weeks ago, before LaMarcus Aldridge started to dominate Spurs trade talk, ESPN’s Zach Lowe hinted at the possibility of San Antonio trading DeMar to the Denver Nuggets. He made it clear that he didn’t think the Spurs would do such a deal but did float Denver out there as a team that could offer an intriguing offer.
Denver has struggled to get over the and into the NBA Finals, could DeRozan be the third piece they’ve been missing? They’ve gotten improvements from Michael Porter Jr and Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic are still as excellent as ever. But this is the Western Conference, making it to the Conference Finals, let alone the NBA Finals, is no sure thing. If the Nuggets feel like DeMar makes them a stronger contender I could see them making this move.
Gary Harris‘s production has been steadily declining since he signed a 4-year, $84 million dollar extension that kicked in at the start of the ’17-18 season. His three-point shooting in particular has seen a severe downturn. He was shooting 40 percent from behind the arc three seasons ago but was hitting just 32 percent of his three-point shots this season before stepping out with a thigh injury.
The prize of this trade could be Bol Bol. The lanky, versatile big man is hard to get a read on. He’s hardly played at all for the Nuggets this season but got some exposure in the Orlando bubble last summer that was enough to raise eyebrows. If there is any development team in the NBA that can help him realize his full potential it’s the Spurs.
Next: Orlando Magic
Mar 18, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) looks to pass between New York Knicks forward Julius Randle and center Nerlens Noel (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 18, 2021, in New York. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Another trade to bring Aaron Gordon to the San Antonio Spurs? You bet it is
Another trade deadline approaches and once again we see Aaron Gordon involved in trade rumors. The Orlando Magic forward has been a fixture in trade rumors for a while now. And as long as he’s been there we’ve been coming up with new ways that would bring him to San Antonio.
According to Mike Singer of the Denver Post, the Magic are asking for a young player, or players, as well as picks and matching salary in any trade for Gordon. This could get tricky if San Antonio wants to throw their hat into the ring.
The Magic desperately need a facilitator. They’ve got a promising young point guard in Cole Anthony but he’s more of a score-first guard than a true floor general. Markelle Fultz was showing promise before he tore his ACL, adding DeRozan could be an insurance policy in case he doesn’t come back as the same player he was.
Gordon could give the Spurs the explosive power forward they’ve been looking for to fill out their frontcourt alongside Jakob Poeltl. I know we’re all high on Luka Samanic right now but I wouldn’t be opposed to adding Gordon as well. Having too many skilled forwards is a rich man’s problem and frankly, one that I would love for the Spurs to have.
And if the Spurs are packaging a young player such as Tre Jones with a first-round pick the least the Magic could do is include Mo Bamba. He’s been in a weird space since he was drafted in 2018.
He isn’t good enough to demand playing time and the Magic are too focused on making the playoffs to give him the minutes he needs to develops. San Antonio could be the fresh start he needs to actualize the potential that helped him get drafted 6th overall.
Next: Atlanta Hawks
Jan 26, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) and guard Trae Young (11) react after defeating the LA Clippers at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Spurs and Hawks both improve with this John Collins – DeRozan swap
Come on, if you didn’t know how this was ending you must be new here. Another John Collins trade? You bet it is.
This trade should be caveated with a recent report from Woj where he noted that the Hawks appear less likely to trade Collins than they did weeks ago. Here’s what he had to say on The Woj Pod.
“I don’t think they can find value on a rookie contract for him. They’re 6-0 since Nate McMillan took over as head coach. I think they can figure out John Collins’ future.”
The wins the Hawks have been racking up under Nate McMillan are a big reason why the Hawks might be content to ride this out through the season and figure out what to do with Collins during the summer when he is a restricted free agent.
But this is a franchise that is clearly starving for the playoffs. One way to help themselves get there would be to trade for another established veteran who can help shoulder the playmaking load when Trae Young sits. DeRozan knows what it takes to get to the playoffs and he’s been an excellent mentor to the Spurs young players, he could bring that same experience and mentorship to Atlanta.
Adding Collins won’t be cheap. It’s going to cost the Spurs DeRozan as well as two future first-round picks. But he’s an All-Star level player with a game that seems perfectly suited to compliment Poeltl and the Spurs cohort of young, slashing guards. He could be the final piece this team needs to set off another run of contention.
Of the trades listed here, this one seems to be the least likely. It sounds like the Hawks are going to hold on to Collins until the summer and the Spurs typically aren’t in the business of giving away first-round draft picks. But if these two teams decide to break from what people are expecting them to do then this could be a deal that helps them both.
It bears repeating that I don’t want any of these trades to happen. My personal preference would be that the San Antonio Spurs bring DeMar DeRozan back on a two or three-year deal with a player option year tacked on to the end. But if they feel like they’re going to lose him this summer it could make sense to move him before the deadline. If that’s the case, these three teams should be their first calls.