The San Antonio Spurs seem to be at an impasse with respect to their future. Although DeMar DeRozan still had a good year for the Spurs, he did not have quite as big of an impact on the team as Kawhi Leonard–whom he replaced–and the Spurs finished seventh in the Western Conference, losing in the first round of the playoffs.
As a result, San Antonio flirted with trading DeRozan this summer, though they ultimately elected to retain DeRozan as young players like Dejounte Murrayreenter the rotation this year.
Instead, the Spurs have now pivoted towards possibly locking DeRozan up for the future, and are still mulling offering him a max contract extension. DeRozan has a player option for the 2020-21 season, so he could ultimately decline his option and enter the market as a free agent next summer.
However, if the Spurs do indeed decide to extend DeRozan, then they risk putting a major dent in their payroll for a player who, truth be told, has not proven that he can lead a team to the NBA Finals.
In addition to payroll considerations, it makes more sense for the Spurs to be patient with respect to DeRozan, and hope that he might opt in for 2020.
What if he does not fit with the youngsters?
Murray’s return to the rotation has greater consequences than one might assume. The Spurs hold Murray in very high regard, and he figures to see a lot of time on the ball as the team’s point guard.
Simultaneously, backcourt players like Bryn Forbes and Derrick White improved tremendously as the season went along, giving San Antonio a diverse set of guards that can make plays at the rim or shoot the ball from beyond the arc.
Simply put: this could be an adjustment season for DeRozan. The former Raptors star put up excellent numbers last year, averaging 21 points and over six assists and six rebounds per game. However, he is still mostly reliant on his athleticism and the midrange game, a dying art in the modern NBA.