What's the rumor?
Following an underwhelming season, the San Antonio Spurs are set to miss out on the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade. The Spurs have been in a state of decline since Tim Duncan retired back in 2016, and their 24-33 record could be the catalyst for a rebuild this summer.
Among those that have been linked with an exit is DeMar DeRozan, who has a player option worth $27.7 million for the 2020-21 season. However, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report believes that DeRozen is unlikely to decline his player option due to a lack of interest from rival teams:
If DeRozan somehow declines his $27.7 million player option, there won't be many teams racing to pay him like a star. As productive as he is, he's still a 30-year-old who's allergic to the three-point line.
In case you didn't know
DeRozan was selected by the Raptors with the 9th overall pick in the 2009 draft, and the California native went on to become a four-time All-Star during a memorable spell nine-year spell in Toronto. Nevertheless, the Raptors opted to send DeRozan to the Spurs during the 2018 offseason as part of the blockbuster trade for Kawhi Leonard.
During his first season in San Antonio, DeRozen averaged 21.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game as the Spurs continued their streak of qualifying for the postseason. The Spurs have struggled this season, although DeRozan has continued to perform well, averaging 22.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists - while shooting a career-high 53.1 percent from the field.
The heart of the matter
DeRozen remains a borderline All-Star, however, his partnership alongside LaMarcus Aldridge hasn't yielded positive results for the Spurs, and the franchise needs to move into a younger direction. However, with the 30-year-old likely to opt into the final year of his deal this summer, the Spurs will be forced to negotiate a trade.
DeRozan and the Spurs will take on the Orlando Magic on Saturday evening. They then face the Indiana Pacers on Monday.