After having his best season yet with the San Antonio Spurs, DeMar DeRozan couldn't quite get them to the playoffs for the second straight season. After shining for most of the year, DeRozan sputtered to an unfortunate 5-of-21 night against Memphis with Dillon Brooks hounding him all night long.
With many questions to answer this offseason, the biggest one is undoubtedly about the future of DeMar DeRozan, who is now an unrestricted free agent this summer. DeRozan, Patty Mills, and Rudy Gay highlight the six Spurs who will have the chance to test free agency.
With a young core to build around and plenty of cap space, what's best for the direction of the franchise when it comes to DeRozan? I went into more detail about that in my assessment of the entire roster, but now it's time to look at the pure logistics of the situation. Here are all the possible ways the Spurs can approach free agency with the four-time All-Star.
The San Antonio Spurs can negotiate an extension
According to ESPN's Bobby Marks (subscription required), San Antonio now has until August 1st to negotiate a new contract for DeMar. Although he says the Spurs can offer up to $149.1 million over four years, his projected value of DeRozan's new salary starts at $31 million and has a low-end of $24 million.
If San Antonio doesn't reach a new deal with DeRozan by August 1st, he'll become an unrestricted free agent with several suitors.
The Spurs could sign-and-trade DeMar to another team
If San Antonio indeed wants to part ways with their leading scorer, a sign-and-trade would be the ideal scenario. As Bobby Marks details, for that to happen, San Antonio would have to take salary back into their cap or redirect it to a third party in such a deal.
With so many teams handicapped by lack of cap space, a sign-and-trade for DeRozan might be difficult but certainly not impossible.
The Spurs could have no choice but to let DeMar walk for nothing
It's too early to tell and I have no insider knowledge, but I just get the feeling DeMar might be ready to move on. Although he said he hasn't thought much about his future following the Spurs' play-in loss, that's what we all expected to hear so soon after the season just ended.
There's no doubting DeRozan has loved his time in San Antonio and wants nothing more than to lead them back into the postseason. I'm just not sure the Spurs can afford to throw another bag at him that he could get elsewhere.
If the Spurs' front office exhausts all possible avenues for a sign and trade but have no luck, it's more likely than not he'll walk for nothing. This is obviously the worst-case scenario for the organization, but since the same thing happened with LaMarcus Aldridge, it wouldn't be a surprise.
Whatever the Spurs decide to do with DeMar, the choice is only one of several they need to make to get the team back where it needs to be sooner than later.