San Antonio Spurs: What’s next for DeMar DeRozan and the Spurs?

San Antonio Spurs DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
San Antonio Spurs DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs, a rocky relationship

July 18th, 2018 will forever be a day in the history books for the San Antonio Spurs and the Toronto Raptors. On this day, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green were sent to Toronto in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2019 1st round draft pick which turned into Keldon Johnson.

Fast forward almost two years and all the Spurs have to show is a first-round exit and likely missing the playoffs this season (which would snap their streak of consecutive years with a postseason appearance).

What is next for DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs?

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DeMar’s two seasons in San Antonio have been good on paper as DeRozan has averaged around 22 points, six assists, and six rebounds but the success hasn’t been there. During his first year in San Antonio, he helped the Spurs make the playoffs as a 7th seed and the team took the young Denver Nuggets the distance and lost in a seventh game.

It seemed as if DeRozan could be their guy after all. This year has been worse for the Spurs, however, as they are in great danger of missing the postseason. A brew of an ever-changing league, bad defense, and poor play from the younger players have led up to this point. The Spurs currently sit in the 12th spot in the West with a 27-36 record heading into the restart.

With the postseason most likely out of reach (especially with LaMarcus Aldridge out with an injury), the bigger questions will come in the offseason. What is going to happen with Demar DeRozan and the Spurs? DeRozan has a player option this offseason that is north of $27 million.

I’d assume DeRozan is going to take that player option strictly because he probably won’t find that kind of money on the open market. DeMar’s game doesn’t really fit today’s style of play. DeMar plays a slasher/mid-range shot creator who can’t for the life of him hit 3’s. This season, he shot 26 percent from 3-point land on less than one attempt per game.

Those numbers won’t cut it in today’s game also adding the fact that he is a liability on the defensive side of the court. What makes DeMar so effective is what he does best which is scoring from inside the arc. He scores 22 points a game on 52 percent shooting and shoots six free throws a game. The main question is can this guy be the main piece of a winning team?

The Spurs won’t have much cap space to work with this offseason. Jakob Poeltl will be up for free agency and Dejounte Murray’s extension hits next season. The Spurs have most of their team under contract for next season but a lot of them turn into expiring deals. DeRozan, Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Patty Mills, and Dejounte Murray will take up around 70 percent of the Spurs cap space for next season, according to

The Spurs might be able to move some players around and acquire draft picks and start over or they could retool the roster and take another shot at the playoffs. San Antonio more than likely will have a lottery pick to either get a young player or use it as a trade chip to bring a piece or two in. The Spurs don’t have a lot of options but they do hold options.

DeRozan could bolt San Antonio and head for another team that’s in need of a player of his caliber. Detroit and Orlando are two teams that come to mind immediately if he is looking for a big payday that comes with a larger role with a team. He could also take less money and join a contending team. If the Lakers swing and miss this offseason he could be someone they could possibly target.

Personally, I don’t see DeMar taking this path just solely that his $27 million player option is so high and it would all be guaranteed for next season. It would be way too risky for him to leave that sort of money unless he wanted to go somewhere to have a shot at a title.

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The next few months will be telling for DeMar DeRozan and the Spurs. How the Spurs perform in Orlando probably will give them an idea of what they need to do in the offseason. Can DeMar DeRozan be the player to lead this team back to winning ways? Can Pop’s midrange system still work in a league where everyone is shooting 3’s and layups? Only time will tell for Spurs fans everywhere.