San Antonio Spurs: The cons of re-signing DeRozan
DeRozan’s struggles on defense are well known, and at this point in his career, it is likely to only get worse. In fact, part of the reason why he has played more and more at the power forward position over the past two seasons is because of his inability to defend on the perimeter, where modern small forwards usually need to be very proficient.
While DeRozan is a gifted offensive player, his inability on defense has made it much harder to build around him. In fact, since joining the Spurs, San Antonio has finished with three of their worst defensive rankings in coach Greg Popovich's 25-year tenure. As a result, San Antonio finished seventh in the West and then missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons during that span.
At nearly 32 years old, DeRozan hasn’t shown any signs of decline but his age will be an issue when determining the length of a new contract. After all, DeRozan is likely to want one last long-term contract to capitalize on a great season. Were the Spurs to re-sign him to a three or four-year deal they risk overpaying him at an age when players regularly begin to have steep declines in their production.
While it's possible that DeRozan could still be very good three seasons from now, it's a pricey risk for the Spurs to take. This is particularly true considering that a new deal any longer than two seasons in duration would likely lead to the Spurs going deep into the luxury tax with extensions to Keldon Johnson and Lonnie Walker IV looming in the near future.