After an early exit in the 2019 postseason, the San Antonio Spurs may look to shape things up this offseason and trade wing DeMar DeRozan.
Brian Windhorst appeared on Pardon the Interruption this evening and provided more information about the future of the four-time All-Star (via ESPN):
“I think the Lakers really have to look at the trade market. How willing would they be to move that No. 4 pick? Would they be willing to make an offer for Bradley Beal? Would they be willing to make an offer for a guy like DeMar DeRozan, who possibly could be on the trade block depending on whether the Spurs want to extend his contract.”
Back in 2016, DeRozan reportedly received a call from the Los Angeles Lakers during his free agency and it was “widely known” they were very interested in striking a deal with him. DeRozan returned to the Toronto Raptors, largely citing loyalty.
Meanwhile, if the Spurs don’t view him as part of their long-term plan on the roster, perhaps his hometown team could make some sense this time around.
Frank Vogel, now the head coach of the Lakers, has spoken very highly of DeRozan in the past.
If a trade happened before the draft, Los Angeles may have to include the No. 4 overall pick. The thinking there is that they would get a more win-now player rather than a younger prospect who would not bring any of the veteran experience that DeRozan would provide.
For salary matching purposes, however, things would get significantly trickier. Even though San Antonio coveted Kyle Kuzma before the 2017 NBA Draft, it is highly unlikely that LA’s front office would include the forward and the fourth pick in this hypothetical trade.
As such, a deal for DeRozan would become far more plausible after free agency if the Lakers swing and miss on everyone hitting the market. The Lakers can create approximately $33.1 million in cap space this offseason.
DeRozan will make $27.7 million next season and then has a player option for the 2020-21 season, which is the last year LeBron James is under contract with Los Angeles before he has to decide on his own player option.
If the Lakers feel James needs immediate help, perhaps they could offer a future pick and/or one of their younger players not in their core into space and land DeRozan predominantly for cap relief. Given his very cumbersome contract without the production to match, his trade value has dwindled. This should be seen as a last resort for Los Angeles, but not out of the realm of possibility.