For the 2020-21 season, DeMar DeRozan has a $27.7 million player option.
Nobody knows, but both the Spurs and DeRozan’s camp want some idea of the direction. The Spurs and DeRozan are talking possible contract extension but the sides are not close, according to multiple reports. Sam Amick said so at The Athletic, and here is what Marc Stein of the New York Times wrote in his weekly newsletter.
According to the latest rumbles, San Antonio and DeRozan aren’t particularly close to a deal. But there is no looming deadline for veteran extensions like DeRozan’s — extension talks can go all the way up to June 30 as opposed to Monday’s deadline for rookie-scale deals — and the Spurs have lots to think about here.
The Spurs would prefer to do a short-term extension if they grant one, given DeRozan’s age (30) and the fact that they have some good guards in the program (Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes and Lonnie Walker IV) who are likely to only keep expanding their roles. DeRozan undoubtedly wants a longer-term extension in exchange for sacrificing his free agency.
Gregg Popovich likes the team he has in San Antonio right now — both on the court and in terms of personality — and the Spurs want to keep a competitive team on the court. This is not a teardown, the Spurs want to evolve with good young players such as DeJonte Murray (who just got a contract extension), Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker IV taking on larger roles. DeRozan, who averaged 21.2 points per game last season, is critical to that transition and the team remaining good.
But for how long? DeRozan is not young. Nor is Gregg Popovich, and while he seemed energized coaching USA Basketball this summer, how much longer does he want to patrol an NBA sideline rather than the rows at his vineyard in the Napa Valley?
There are long-term questions in San Antonio, and now to balance all of that leads to the challenge of a DeRozan extension.
Right now, the Spurs want to keep him and there are no trade rumors about DeRozan floating around the league. The Spurs like him and his fit in their system, which might not be the same other teams (DeRozan is not a great defender, doesn’t shoot the three well, and does not have a reputation as a guy who can help a team get deep into the playoffs). San Antonio wants to keep DeRozan around, it just doesn’t want to go for a full max (four years, $150 million).
If things really reach an impasse, trade talks could start, but for now things are just moving slowly on the extension front.