DeMar DeRozan is enjoying a strong season with the San Antonio Spurs, entering mid-March with a career-best 59.8% true shooting and averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per contest. While that individual success hasn’t fully translated to a playoff push for San Antonio, the 30-year-old wing is still operating at a high level and, as a result, he has an intriguing decision to make with a $27.7 million player option for the 2020-21 season.
On Tuesday evening, Chris Haynes of TNT and Yahoo Sports took to the air during San Antonio’s face-off with the Dallas Mavericks and shed a bit of light on DeRozan’s thought process. In fact, he suggested that DeRozan could decline his option if he does not reach a contract extension with the Spurs.
“If both sides are unable to reach an agreement, league sources told me DeRozan intends to decline his $27.7 million player option next season to become an unrestricted free agent where he will be among the top players in the market this summer,” he said.
From there, Haynes indicated a belief that the move could “open the door for a team like the New York Knicks,” with the Knicks projected to have more than $30 million in salary cap room. Obviously, a lot can happen between now and July, including a number of different paths in potential negotiations with the Spurs. Still, teams like New York, Charlotte or Detroit could theoretically be in the market for a big-time scorer like DeRozan, even if the market might be tepid in an overall sense given the relative lack of available cap room.
DeRozan and the Spurs are still a partnership that works in some sense, with the easy case that he’s the team’s best player and San Antonio seemingly has no desire to press the rebuild button. Still, there are spacing issues when pairing DeRozan with players like Dejounte Murray for the future, and this could be a showdown to monitor as DeRozan’s player option decision looms this summer.