NBA Rumor: DeMar DeRozan Trade?

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DeRozan is also playing out the final year of his contract, and sources said he has an interest in playing elsewhere following this season—perhaps with an eye toward the Eastern Conference. DeRozan is quietly having an exceptional season, scoring 20.3 points per game on 49.1 percent shooting and boasting a 7.5-to-1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio. “He’s transformed himself into this swing playmaker,” one team analytics staffer said.

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During ESPN’s “The Jump,” reporter Marc Spears says NBA General Managers, executives and scouts are saying Southwest Division teams will be active around the trade deadline, including the San Antonio Spurs. And according to Spears, the Spurs are shopping LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan. “Another name is San Antonio, is kind of surprising” Spears said. “LaMarcus Aldridge’s name has been bandied about. Also, a little bit I’m hearing is DeMar DeRozan.”

If Poeltl could shoot jumpers, or at least free throws, he’d be the superior choice to start. Rival executives have a tough time getting a read on the Spurs, which is why they’re seldom involved in trade rumblings. Aldridge’s value is declining quickly, but any team in need of a championship boost should at least think about exploring deals for DeRozan. If the Spurs are willing to dangle DeRozan in trades, he could end up the best player available on the market.

While outsiders await a potential trade that ships out a veteran like LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan or Patty Mills, No. 11 San Antonio is optimistic that the experience its younger players gained in the bubble will make the Spurs a playoff sleeper. No. 13 New Orleans is one of the more difficult teams to assess and figures to have a puncher’s chance to reach the postseason purely based on the track record of its new coach, Stan Van Gundy, and Zion Williamson’s promising preseason. Golden State, of course, is expected to bounce back from the league’s worst record (15-50) to contend for a playoff berth — even with Klay Thompson out for the season after he tore his right Achilles’ tendon in November.

Dave McMenamin agreed Caldwell-Pope remaining with the Lakers is a possibility, but he also raised the point of his contract instead being used to trade for DeMar DeRozan: “I certainly don’t think this means he has one foot out the door, but it does mean he’s earned a better salary than what he was making. $8.5 million, obviously in the real world that’s a great salary, but as a high-level NBA starter who was basically the Lakers’ third-best player throughout their playoff run, he should be looking at a salary in the $12 to $14 or $15 million range. The Lakers, because they have his bird rights, can offer that to him. Or he can be an attractive sign and trade piece. Things might not be completely dead in terms of their interest in a guy like DeMar DeRozan.”

Amid the trade rumors, however, DeRozan appeared on the “All the Smoke” podcast where Matt Barnes asked about the trade rumors linking him to the Lakers. DeRozan went on to explain that growing up in LA and idolizing Kobe Bryant, he used to envision himself playing for the Lakers. “You always want to be wanted. When you see things about teams wanting you, you can’t feel a type of way. You better feel good about it, because there are guys that are not wanted,” the Spurs combo guard added.

The Spurs (16-20; eighth in the West) have been exploring the market for DeRozan, but a source with knowledge of his situation is quick to point out that the free-agent-to-be has a significant influence on the situation here too. DeRozan, who has a $27.7 million player option for next season, will have the freedom to walk this summer if he doesn’t like his next landing spot. It’s tough to find serious takers when you know the guy might skip town in just a few months. Meanwhile, there remains the possibility that he could sign an extension to remain in San Antonio (I reported in October that the sides were far apart, but those talks aren’t dead). With the Spurs somehow still in position to set a new NBA record by securing their 23rd consecutive playoff berth, DeRozan is leading the team in scoring (21.7 points per game) and assists (4.9 per).

DeMar DeRozan’s name pops up often in possible trade talks with the Magic. DeRozan is owed $27.7 million next season, though it’s a player option. The Spurs don’t normally make in-season trades, but given where they are, this might be the time to move DeRozan. It’s a new era in San Antonio. R.C. Buford has turned over operations to new general manager Brian Wright, who is running the show and thinking about the future for a franchise that has been a playoff mainstay for two-plus decades.

And, for what it’s worth, Orlando has reportedly expressed some interest in DeRozan. One of the executives who spoke to HoopsHype said that they’ve also heard the DeRozan-to-Orlando rumblings, while another mentioned both the Magic and the Sacramento Kings as sensible suitors for the All-Star 2-guard: “A landing spot for DeRozan is probably a team that badly wants to make the playoffs and, right now, they’re in the 7-to-10 range in their conference. The Magic, the Kings and other teams like that would make sense. What the Spurs could get back really depends on if they’re willing to take back money in the deal.”

Magic interested in DeMar DeRozan?

This is a team at a crossroads. Despite the fact that he has performed ably since arriving in Texas from Canada, DeRozan might not be in town for that much longer. He could even be traded ahead of the deadline. DeRozan can become a free agent in 2020 by declining his $27.7 million player option; he was far apart from the team on extension talks before the season, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. The Spurs could always deal him sooner rather than let him walk for nothing. Multiple league sources say the Magic are scouring the trade market for scoring help and have already expressed interest in trading for DeRozan.
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