The San Antonio Spurs are rebuilding and it appears they have key players in place already. The former champions were not among the movers this summer although pundits feel that a trade could happen somewhere headed to the 2019-20 NBA season.
One name that comes to mind is DeMar Derozan, a player they acquired from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Kawhi Leonard. The 30-year-old did churn in good numbers but his efforts were not enough to help the Spurs get past the Denver Nuggets in last season's NBA playoffs. Along with LaMarcus Aldridge, there are some who feel that another change-up will be in the offing. But according to the San Antonio Express-News, DeRozan is likely to get a contract extension soon.
"[Gregg] Popovich genuinely likes the group he has assembled in San Antonio, and after outsiders speculated DeMar DeRozan might be used as trade bait this offseason, all indications are that the Spurs value his presence and want to keep him around. They have not yet offered him a maximum contract extension, but they have not ruled out the possibility of doing so before the season begins, either."
In his first year as Spur, DeRozan averaged 21.2 points and career highs in rebounds (6.0) and assists (6.2). He shot 48.1 percent from the field but just 15.6 percent from three on 0.6 attempts per game, the Bleacher Report said. It was a better shooting clip for the 9th overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft although it seems obvious that Popovich needs to add more talent to get the Spurs back on the winning track.
The Spurs do have Dejounte Murray, Derrick White and Rudy Gay around although much of the attention is on the ability of Derozan to rise as a leader. Assuming he is given a contract extension, the longevity of it will be in focus. This could happen before or by the summer, especially if the veteran swingman opts out of his $27.7 million deal and check the free agent market. But the better question at that point is if DeRozan still wants to be in San Antonio.
Should DeRozan test the waters, there is no question that several teams will try to pitch to him. Hence, the coming season - regardless if he signs an extension or not - will be pivotal. To make sure other teams take notice, expect the four-time NBA All-Star to go all out to further boost his stock. That is unless the Spurs are able to work things out in the 2019-20 NBA season first.